Theorist and composer. Studied violin with Kellner and organ with H. N. Gerber, and from 1739 to 1741 composition under J. S. Bach at Leipzig. Worked for a number of Polish nobles, 1741-51, serving also at the Benedictine convent of Reusch-Lemburg; studied violin at Dresden for a short time before joining the royal chapel at Berlin as violinist. In 1754 he moved to the chapel of Prince Heinrich of Prussia and from 1758 to his death served Princess Anna Amalie. He is known chiefly for voluminous writings, most important his 4-volume Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik (1771-79), and for his articles in J. G. Sulzer's Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Kunste (1773). Kirnberger viewed J. S. Bach as the greatest of teachers and worked to propagate Bach's methods; his compositions, many written to complement his treatises, include lieder, motets, cantatas, sonatas, and keyboard works.