8th November 1770
3rd January 1836
Friedrich Jeremias Witt was a German composer and cellist. He is perhaps best known as the likely author of a Symphony in C major known as the Jena Symphony, once attributed to Ludwig van Beethoven. Born in the Württemberg village of Niederstetten, Witt became a cellist (some accounts say a violinist) in the court orchestra of Oettingen-Wallerstein when he was nineteen. Witt was most famous in his lifetime for his oratorio Der leidende Heiland, securing an appointment as Kapellmeister for the Prince ofWürzburg, and later for the theater, where he stayed until his death. He also wrote two operas: Palma (1804) and Das Fischerweib (1806). His other compositions include concertos, church music, chamber music and symphonies. His best known work, a symphony in C major known as the Jena, is largely based on the Symphony No. 97 by Joseph Haydn.