Zachow probably received his training from his father, the piper Heinrich Zachow, one of Leipzig's town musicians in theAlta capella, and maybe from Johann Schelle, a leading German composer, when the family moved to Eilenburg. AsKantor and organist of Halle's Market Church in 1684 he succeeded Samuel Ebart. During his time at Halle he became particularly renowned as a composer of dramatic cantatas. In 1695 he was criticized by the pietists because of his excessive long and elaborate music, that could be only appreciated by cantors and organists. Zachow was influenced by Johann Theile in Merseburg and the poetry of Erdmann Neumeister, pastor in the nearby Weissenfels, and his criticism on pietism.