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Telemann, Georg Philipp
Georg Philipp Telemann
March 14, 1681 – June 25, 1767

Georg Philipp Telemann is known as the classical composer with the largest body of work. He wrote prolifically, producing pieces suffused with charming melodies and feeling. His writing was notable in that he composed so that amateurs could perform the pieces easily, without diminishing their appeal. He was widely respected by his peers at the time, however his contribution to history has been generally overlooked in deference to another composer of that time: Bach.

Telemann talents were noticed early: he was proficient with many instruments, including violin, zither, and flute. He wrote an opera while only 12. His parents, however, discouraged a career in music. He trained in secret until his mother gave in. Telemann was diverted temporarily by studies in law, before a teenaged Handel convinced him to resume an education in music. Telemann continued to compose, and his works earned him a reputation that led to directorship of the Leipzig Opera.

He accepted conducting and writing positions in a number of cities. A directorship in Frankfurt-on-Main, in combination with the widespread self-publishing of his works (and one of the first composers to do so), led to international recognition. He held a number of directorships, but remained mostly in Hamburg, and continued to write until his death in 1767.

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