Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel
Stölzel studied at Leipzig University from 1707 to 1710, where he joined the Collegium Musicum, which had been headed by Georg Philipp Telemann before Stölzel's arrival at the University. For the next several years, he traveled across Europe, studying, teaching and composing in Breslau, Halle, Venice (where he met Antonio Vivaldi), Rome, Florence, Prague, Bayreuth, and Gera. During this time, he refused several offers of permanent employment.
In 1718, he moved to Gotha, where he remained for the rest of his life. He worked for the dukes Frederick II and Frederick III of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, composing a cantata each week. In 1730, he was appointed as the Kapellmeister of the court at Gotha.
Johann Sebastian Bach was said to have great respect for Stölzel. Bach's familiarity with Stölzel's music may account for the use J.S. Bach made of it in the little exercise books he created, first for his son Wilhelm Friedemann and later for his second wife Anna Magdalena.
Stölzel was one of the most prolific composers of his time. Besides numerous orchestral and chamber music pieces he wrote no less than 18 musical dramatic works, several oratorios and fairs, 12 complete cantatas, motets, and at least seven passions plus numerous secular cantatas. Most of Stölzel's music and manuscripts have been lost or destroyed, and it is estimated that only about half of his output still exists. The largest number of his works have been preserved in the castle archives Sondershausen.