Moritz Hauptmann (1792-1868) studied violin and composition with Louis Spohr in Gotha and in 1812 joined the court orchestra at Dresden as a violinist. A holiday in Vienna led to a position as private music teacher in the household of the Russian prince Repnin, whom he followed to Moscow, Poltava, Odessa and St. Petersburg. In 1820 he returned to Dresden and after 1822 became a violinist in the court orchestra at Kassel under Spohr, and simultaneously taught music theory and composition. On the recommendation of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy he became cantor at the Thomasschule and music director at the two main churches of Leipzig, and in 1843 began teaching music theory and composition at the newly established conservatory.
Hauptmann belongs to the most significant masters of pure vocal motet music of the Romantic period.
He was a founding member of the Bach-Gesellschaft (Bach Society), which he directed until his death. He edited volumes 1,2 and 8 of this Bach edition. In 1857 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Göttingen.