Bohemian composer and violin virtuoso. Eldest of five musical children of Jan Jiri [Johann Georg] Benda (1686-1757) and Dorota Brixi. In 1720 he ran away from his position in the choir at St. Nicolas's in Prague; he ended up in Dresden, where he sang in the court chapel choir and began study of violin and viola. In 1723 he returned to Prague, where he was a chorister and seminary student. He received employment in Frederick II's orchestra in 1733, a position he held until his death. In Berlin he had close contact with C. P. E. Bach, Quantz, Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Gottlieb Graun; he has recounted his young years in a valuable autobiography (written 1763). Benda was famous for his cantabile playing; copies of his violin works contain embellished melodic lines that perhaps represent the way he played them. He composed symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and other chamber music.