Georg Philipp Telemann

1681 - 1767

German

Biography

German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist Georg Philipp Telemann was born on March 14th 1681. He was almost entirely self-taught and began his career in composition in spite of his family’s disapproval. He travelled to Magdeburg, Zellerfeld and Hildesheim in order to study and spent a short spell studying law at the University of Leipzig before abandoning the course for his career in music. He was appointed to major positions in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach and Frankfurt before finally making the decision to settle permanently in Hamburg in 1721, becoming musical director of the five main churches in the city. Although he had a successful career, his personal life was consistently impeded by disaster: his first wife died just a few months after their marriage; his second wife was unfaithful with multiple different people and accrued a substantial gambling debt before she left Telemann. In terms of the quantity of his works that have survived to the modern day, he is one of the most prolific composers of his era and was considered to be one of the leading German composers of the time by his contemporaries. His music incorporates multiple national styles and remained at the cutting edge of new musical trends at the time, evincing an important link between the Baroque and Classical styles. He died on June 25th 1767 in Hamburg of a ‘chest ailment’.