browsing through the cello tag on tumblr, I was surprised to discover a cellist and composer who shares my last name (although unlikely to be related, as it's a name that originated in many places independently): Johann Benjamin Groß (1809-1848). His Wikipedia entry only exists in German, French and Russian so far, so I'll compile the basic info in English here(may expand on this later):
12.9.1809 Born in Elbing (West Prussia, today Elblag, Poland, a coastal city with some 120,000 inhabitants). Parents: Georg Groß, bell-ringer (was that a full-time job?) and Dorothea van Bergen (watch this space - there are genealogy records for families with both these names in nearby places so I might be able to find his grandparents etc.)
studies cello at Berlin with Ferdinand Hansmann, a pupil of Jean-Pierre Duport (that's the older Duport, not the one of Napoleon/Stradivarius fame).
1824 Cellist at the theatre of Königstadt near Berlin
1830 First solo cello at the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig.
1833 short stint at the orchestra of the Magdeburg theatre
1834 played in a quartet at Dorpat (today Tartu, Estonia)
1835 moved to St. Petersburg to become first cellist at the Imperial Court orchestra.
marries Catharina von Witte from Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia). They had three daughters.
There he composed more than 40 works, including several concertos and many chamber works for the cello.
1.9.1848 died in St. Petersburg of cholera.
2004 After a period of oblivion, his work is performed again at the Schumann Festival at Düsseldorf. First recordings are released from 2009 onwards.