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Klein was born in Cologne. He married Lilly Parthey (born Berlin, 2 October 1800 – died 2 August 1829), who was the sister of Gustav Parthey (1798–1832) and the granddaughter of Friedrich Nicolai (1733–1811). Their daughter, Elisabeth Klein (1828–1899) married Egyptologist Carl Richard Lepsius (1810–1883) on 5 July 1846.
Klein was the director of music at Cologne Cathedral after studying at the Paris Conservatory. In 1819 at the request of Carl Friedrich Zelter he came to Berlin, where he spent the rest of his life. In 1820 he became professor of composition at the Royal Institute for Church Music, as well as Music Director at the University of Berlin. Together with his friend, music critic Ludwig Rellstab, he founded the Second Berlin Song Board (Zweiten Berliner Liedertafel).
Klein composed oratorios, a Mass, a Magnificat, a cantata, psalms, hymns, and motets, along with three operas, songs, and piano pieces. His conservative style of composition was influenced by Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut.
- Dido (after Ludwig Rellstab), Opera, 1823
- Ariadne, Opera, 1824
- Irene, Opera
- Jephtha, Oratorio
- David, Oratorio
- Hiob, Oratorio (a setting of the story of Job)
- Athalia, Oratorio
- Free scores by Bernhard Klein in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Free scores by Bernhard Klein at the International Music Score Library Project
- A Dictionary of Pianists and Composers for the Pianoforte: With an Appendix of Manufacturers of the Instrument by Ernst Pauer, published by Novello in 1895 (via Google Books). P.59.