Composer and violinist. His father, Martin Friedrich (ca.1690 - 1773), was flutist and music teacher at the Mannheim court. As a boy Christian studied violin with Johann Stamitz and began playing in the Mannheim orchestra at the age of twelve (1744). In the early 1750s he studied in Italy, first with Jommelli in Rome, and later in Stuttgart and Milan. By 1757 he had returned to Mannheim to assume Stamitz's post as first violinist (together with Carl Joseph Toeschi). He visited Paris frequently during the 1760s and 1770s, performing his own works at the Concert spirituel and publishing symphonies and chamber works. In 1774 he became director of instrumental music at Mannheim; four years later he moved to Munich with the court. He composed more than forty ballet scores (ten with Toeschi; many lost), a melodrama, over 75 symphonies, concertos, symphonies concertantes, and chamber music. In 1798 his son Carl (1771-1806), who since 1788 had played violin in his father's orchestra, became Konzertmeister; in 1800 he was made court music director. Carl Cannabich composed operas, including an Orfeo setting (Munich, 1802), symphonies, concertos, and chamber music.