Georg Philipp Telemann (March 14, 1681 ? June 25, 1767) was a German Baroque music composer and multi-instrumentalist, born in Magdeburg. Self-taught in music, he studied law at the University of Leipzig. Often described as the most prolific composer in history (at least in terms of surviving oeuvre), he was a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and a lifelong friend of George Frideric Handel. While in the present day Bach is generally thought of as the greater composer, Telemann was more widely renowned for his musical abilities during his lifetime.
Telemann traveled widely, absorbing various musical styles and incorporating them into his own compositions. He is known for writing concertos for unusual combinations of instruments, such as multiple violas, trumpets, oboes, or harpsichords. He held a series of important musical positions, culminating in that of music director of the five largest churches in Hamburg, from 1720 until his death in 1767.