Ganz studied cello with Friedrich Hegar, and piano with Robert Freund at the Zürich Musikschule. He also took composition lessons with Charles Blanchet at the Lausanne Conservatory (de). From 1897 to 1898, Ganz studied piano with F. Blumer in Strasbourg, and in 1899 took a course in advanced piano playing with Ferruccio Busoni in Berlin.
Ganz became head of piano studies at the Chicago Musical College in 1901. From 1921 to 1927 he was the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and did much to raise it to the top rank of orchestras. While in St. Louis, he was initiated as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity in 1924 at the University of Missouri. From 1928 he returned to teach at the Chicago Musical College, serving as its president from 1934 to 1958.
Ganz was active in the promotion of new music throughout his career. In 1923 he received the Légion d'honneur of France for his introduction of the works of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel to American audiences, and in later years he performed and conducted pieces by Pierre Boulez, John Cage and Arthur Honegger. Ravel, in a letter to Ganz, thanked him for his performances of Ravel's work, and dedicated "Scarbo" the third part of his composition Gaspard de la Nuit to him in gratitude.
His pupils included Marion Edna Hall (1910–2012), who taught for many years at the University of Indiana's Jacobs School of Music, Abby Whiteside, Mollie Margolies (1890–1976), Evelyn Hora, Gena Branscombe, Joseph Bloch, Beatrice Sharp Karan (1918–1909), Adrian Lerner Newman Goldman, Vera Bradford and Arne Sorensen.
Rudolph Ganz was the son of Rudolf Ganz, Sr., and Sophie Bartenfeld. He had three brothers: Paul, Emil, and Hans. Ganz married American soprano Mary Forrest in 1900, in Berlin. They had a son, Anton Roy Ganz, born in 1903. After Mary Forrest Ganz died in 1956, Ganz married Esther LaBerge, who was a concert singer and associate professor of voice at Chicago Musical College, in 1959. Esther LaBerge Ganz had one daughter, Jeanne Colette Collester, a professor of art history. Esther LaBerge Ganz died in 2007.
- Obituaries on File (Ganz in Vol. 1 of 2), compiled by Felice D. Levy (born 1940), New York: Facts on File (1979); OCLC 4933813
- The New York Times Biographical Service, Vol. 3, Nos. 1–12, Ann Arbor: UMI Co. (1972); ISSN 0161-2433
- The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
3rd ed. (1966); OCLC 598257 and 604233677
4th ed. (1980); OCLC 7065938 and 10721505
- Schweizer in Amerika: Karrieren und Misserfolge in der Neuen Welt, by Karl Lüönd (de), Olten, Switzerland: (de) (1979), pps. 292–315; OCLC 5831809
- Collester, Jeanne Colette (1995). Rudolph Ganz: A Musical Pioneer (1st ed.). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8108-2883-9.
- The Art of the Piano: Its Performers, Literature, and Recordings, 3rd ed., by David Dubal, Amadeus Press (2004); OCLC 53331642
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Ganz is in Vol. 2 of 6), Macmillan; Schirmer
6th ed., Slonimsky (ed.) (1978); OCLC 4426869
7th ed., Slonimsky (ed.) (1984); OCLC 10574930
8th ed., Slonimsky (ed.) (1992); OCLC 24246972
9th ed., Laura Kuhn (ed.) (born 1953) (2001); OCLC 44972043
- Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Classical Musicians, Nicolas Slonimsky (ed), Schirmer (1997); OCLC 36111932
- Biographical Dictionary of American Music, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing Co. (1973); OCLC 609781
- Biography Index, H.W. Wilson Co.; ISSN 0006-3053
Vol. 1: Jan. 1946–Jul. 1949 (1949)
Vol. 4: Sep. 1955–Aug. 1958 (1960)
Vol. 7: Sep. 1964–Aug. 1967 (1968)
Vol. 9: Sep. 1970–Aug. 1973 (1974)
Vol. 11: Sep. 1976–Aug. 1979 (1980); OCLC 31441150
Vol. 20: Sep. 1994–Aug. 1995 (1995); OCLC 33662886
- Britannica Book of Music, Benjamin Hadley (ed.), Doubleday & Co. (1980); OCLC 5102051
- Contemporary American Composers, compiled by E. Ruth Anderson (1907–1989), G.K. Hall & Co. (in 1985, ITT sold G.K. Hall & Co. to Macmillan Publishing)
1st ed. (1976); OCLC 2035024
2nd ed. (1982); OCLC 7795619
- Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9, 1971-1975, Vol. 29, American Council of Learned Societies, Maxwell Macmillan Canada (1973); OCLC 2818292
- Musicians Since 1900: Performers in Concert and Opera, David Ewen (ed.), New York: H.W. Wilson Co. (1978); OCLC 4194793
- The New American Dictionary of Music, by Philip David Morehead with Anne MacNeil, Dutton (1991); OCLC 23694214
- The Penguin Dictionary of Musical Performers, by Arthur Jacobs, London: Viking (1990); ;OCLC 21080776
- The Pianist's Dictionary, by Grady Maurice Hinson (born 1930), Indiana University Press, 2004); OCLC 53483629
- Who Was Who in America, Vol. 5, 1969–1973, Marquis Who's Who (1973); OCLC 13864526
- The Omaha Symphony History, www
.omahasymphony .org /history .asp (retrieved 10 February 2014)
- Rudolph Ganz, at the Wayback Machine (archived September 27, 2007) by Emmett M. Ford (1914–2009), The AMICA Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 4 (May 1977) (retrieved September 27, 2007); ISSN 0884-0652
- Obituary: Beatrice Sharp Karan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 2, 2009; ISSN 1082-8850
- Vera Bradford 1904–2004, by Ivor Morgan, The Age (Melbourne, January 31, 2004; ISSN 0312-6307
- Rudolph Ganz at AllMusic
- Free scores by Rudolph Ganz at the International Music Score Library Project
- Rudolph Ganz Papers at the Newberry Library