As brought to you through our newspaper every month we have a new composer to introduce. Now let me give to you a detailed yet brief summary of our composer.
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Georg Philipp Telemann was born in Magdeburg in 1681. He belonged to a family that had long been connected with the Lutheran Church. His father was a clergyman, his mother was the daughter of a clergyman, and his older brother also became a clergyman. If it had not been for his musical abilities Georg also would have followed in his father’s footsteps. As a child he mastered the violin, flute, zither, and keyboard by the age of ten. At the age of twelve he composed and opera called Sigismundus. His family disapproved highly of his success in music. This resistance though reinforced his determination to persevere in his studies through transcription and modeling his works on composers such as Agostino Steffani, Johann Rosenmuller, Corelli and Antonio Caldara. At Leipzig University he majored in law at his mother’s insistence in 1701.
While he was a student at Leipzig University a career in music became inevitable. Within a year of being in the university he founded the student Collegium Musicum with which he gave public concerts. In 1703 he wrote operatic works for the Leipzig Theater and became musical director of the Leipzig Opera. He was also appointed organist at the Neue Kirche in 1704.
In 1705 Georg accepted an appointment as Kapellmeister to the cosmopolitan court of Count Erdmann II of Promnitz at Sorau. The vogue for the French and Italian styles of this area provided him with a new challenge. Georg’s career there was cut short by the imminent prospect of invasion by the Swedish army, which caused the Court to be hurriedly disbanded.
His next place of appointment was at Eisenach as court Konzertmeister in charge of the singers. Georg assumed that his time there would be a period of relative stability. Therefore he plunged into composing church cantatas, occasional pieces, and orchestral and instrumental chamber music.