Carl Friedrich Abel (b. December 22, 1723 in Cöthen) was one of the most renowned viola da gamba players of his day. It was probably for Carl's father, Christian Ferdinand Abel, that Johann Sebastian Bach composed his famous solo cello suites.
Following his education at the Thomasschule under J.S. Bach, he initially took a post under Johann Adolf Hasse in the Dresden court orchestra, and remained there for a decade before traveling to London 1759. There he met and eventually shared a room with Johann Christian Bach.
This relationship flourished during the next twenty years and J.C. Bach and Abel presented a series of subscription concerts to the London public at which Haydn's symphonies were first performed. Upon J.C. Bach's death in 1785, Abel continued his association with the London concerts on and off until his death in London on June 20, 1787.
Many of Abel's symphonies, overtures, string quartets, concertos and sonatas were highly regarded in their day and widely published. As a virtuoso gambist, his (unpublished) chamber works for the viola da gamba are among the most developed and interesting of his compositions.