Pupil of I. Grzhimali and E. Ysaye.
Press began studying violin with Tissen at the age of eight in Vilnius, and made his first public appearance at ten years old. At the age of thirteen he was concert master in the Vilna Opera House. For some years he was conductor of the Karatayev Opera Company, travelling all over Russia.
From 1901 to 1904 he was professor at the Philharmonic Society Conservatory in Moscow. From 1915 to 1918, Press taught at the Moscow Conservatory, succeeding Hřímalý as Professor of Violin. He narrowly escaped execution during the Russian Revolution and fled to Germany and Gothenburg, Sweden where he conducted the Gothenburg Symphony for two years.
Press migrated to the United States and made his debut in 1922. He joined the violin faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1924 and served as Carl Flesch's assistant for one year. He taught at Michigan State College in East Lansing, Michigan from 1928–1938.
Press was also a composer and conductor. He was guest conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others. Among Press' students were Vadim Borisovsky, Dorothy DeLay and Mary Canberg.
In the 1920s, he was a member of the Old Masters Trio with cellist Leo Schulz.