The son of a singer and a composer, Jan Freiheit, was born in 1962 and attended the music school „Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Oberschule“ in Berlin as a child. He started studying cello at the age of twelve and performed in the school’s symphony orchestra one year later. The school’s name would become the focal point of his musical career, as Handel’s music interested him like no other composer. However, because it was difficult to explore the baroque repertoire in his youth orchestra, Jan Freiheit decided to establish and direct his own chamber orchestra at school, focusing mainly on the concerti grossi of Corelli, Vivaldi and Handel.
After graduating, he studied cello at the Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler” in Berlin from 1983 to 1988. With his interest for baroque music still strong, he soon took to historical performance practice. From 1989 to 1992, he studied viola da gamba with Prof. Siegfried Pank at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater „Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig, and later participated in masterclasses. In 1986, he founded the Berliner Barock-Compagney, a chamber music ensemble dedicated to the performance of music dating from 1650 to 1750 as well as music of the Classical era.
In addition to Pank gaves the former director of the choir of the St. Hedwig’s-Cathedral in Berlin Domkapellmeister Michael Witt and the english choirmaster Marcus Creed his decisive musical impulses.
Since 1992 he has been a member of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and is the ensemble’s solo cellist and gambist. Concert tours with the Akademie and other ensembles have brought him to North and South America, Australia, China, Japan and almost all of Europe and he has participated in numerous radio productions and recordings.
Jan Freiheit gives cello lessons, courses in continuo playing, and masterclasses in chamber music. From 2012 to 2017 he had a lectureship at the Universität der Künste Berlin, for baroque cello and basso continuo playing. In the fall of 2013, he was appointed Professor for baroque cello and historical ‘bass violin’ instruments at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig.