Carl Friedrich Zelter was a German composer, conductor and teacher of music. Working in his father's bricklaying business, Zelter attained mastership in that profession, and was a musical autodidact. Zelter was born and died in Berlin. He became friendly with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and his works include settings of Goethe's poems. During his career, he composed about two hundred lieder, as well as cantatas, a viola concerto (performed as early as 1779) and piano music.