Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818) was a German keyboard player and musicologist who had a great interest in the music of J.S. Bach. Forkel wrote the first biography of Bach in 1802. He had the foresight to obtain first-hand information from Bach’s sons, Carl Philipp Emmanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann.
Forkel, himself a prolific composer, is best known today for his musicological writings. His biography, On Johann Sebastian Bach's Life, Art, and Work: For Patriotic Admirers of True Musical Art, helped to turn Bach into a musical national hero in Germany in the early 19th century. And, without Forkel’s profound admiration of Bach and ongoing correspondences with Bach’s two sons, important details of Bach’s life may well have been lost.