Georg Philipp Telemann - Famous Composers in History

Commemorative stamp of Georg Philipp Telemann released by East Germany in 1981. Editorial credit: wantanddo /

Georg Philipp Telemann is considered to be among the best composers in the history of humankind. What makes him unique from the rest is the fact that he was able to teach himself almost all that he knew about music and composition. He was able to play a variety of musical instruments thus the name multi-instrumentalist and this he was able to do even against the wishes of his family who were against music.

Early Life

Telemann was born on March 14, 1681, in Magdeburg, the capital city of Prussia. His father, Heinrich, and was a deacon at a Catholic church called the Church of the Holy Spirit but died when Telemann was very young. At a young age of ten, Telemann received his first music lesson, and from there his passion for music grew. He was able to play a variety of musical instruments like violin, recorder, flute, piano, among other devices at a young age most of which was self-taught.

Telemann went to school, did well, and joined a university to study law according to the wishes of his mother who disliked music. After graduation, however, he went entirely into music and began his journey from there.


The professional musical career of Georg Telemann began in the year 1702 when he became a director of a county opera house and later became a music director to another opera house. From there he worked in different more places during which he wrote more of his music and advertised his workings.

In the year 1712, he moved to another city and became a city music director composing music for big churches, civic ceremonies, and other musicians. In 1721, he moved to yet another town and became music director to five essential churches in that city. Later in the 1760s, he became less productive as he was in his 60s.

Major Contributions

Georg Phillip Telemann is regarded as one of the well-known and respected composers in history as he wrote uncountable numbers of songs during his time. He wrote many poems in the church that people still sing them even in this century.

Telemann also wrote numerous songs used in operas and theatres and for many generations directors still use his music in shooting operas and in ballets.


A challenge that Georg Phillip Telemann was encountering during his career life was the rejection he felt during his working in churches by church management who rejected him. This was because he was a secular composer and the church leaders felt like he was inappropriate in churches. This was a challenge because a big part of his career was felt in churches, as he was composing music for churches.

Death and Legacy

By the time he turned 60, Telemann was experiencing health issues and troubling eyesight due to his age. Telemann died on June 25, 1767 due to chest complications. Telemann left behind a legacy when he recorded more than 3,000 compositions making him earn respect from everyone. Many generations later and people still play his music and appreciate him as a great composer and instrumentalist.


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