Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer was born in 1783 at Haselrieth, Germany, near Hildburghausen. He was the son of a church music minister and learned to play many instruments, including piano, violin, double-bass, horn and clarinet. He learned music theory from the local church organist, by the name of Ruttinger, who had known J.S. Bach. His first cello lessons were given him by the Court Trumpeter.
Having settled on the cello, he began his studies in earnest on that instrument with Kriegk, a pupil himself of the younger Duport, and in 1806 he studied with Bernard Romberg in Berlin. He played cello in the Leipzig Orchestra, and the Dresden Court Orchestra, where he remained until his retirement in 1850, at the age of 67.
Dotzauer concertized all around Germany and the Netherlands, but gained his fame as a teacher. He wrote many symphonies, operas, concertos, sonatas and so on, but his enduring works are his famous and still used Violoncellschules, consisting of three sets of 180 exercises and caprices for the cello. Dotzauer died in 1860.