Georg Österreich (baptized on 17 March 1664 – 6 June 1735) was a German Baroque composer and collector. He is regarded as the founder of the so-called Bokemeyer collection (German: Sämmlung Bokemeyer) which is now housed in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin and is considered one of the most important music collections of the late 17th and early 18th century.
The son of a brewer, he received his first music lessons from his godfather, Magdeburg singer Johann Scheffler. With Scheffler's recommendation he was accepted at the Thomasschule zu Leipzig. His teacher Johann Schelle recognized the child's talent. As a result, Österreich left Leipzig in 1680, and moved to Hamburg where he continued his musical education. At the same time he became the violinist in the Gänsemarktoper. In the fall of 1683 he enrolled at the University of Leipzig and a year later his talent was recognized again, this time as a tenor at the Hamburg opera. In 1689 he was hired as Kapellmeister for the Duke of Schleswig-Gottorf.
Österreich was a passionate music collector, accumulating a considerable number of works from 1670 to 1730, which form the basis of the Bokemeyer collection. This collection is currently held at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. It is considered invaluable because it is often the only source of many works by famous composers including Dietrich Buxtehude, Nicolaus Bruhns, Johann Rosenmüller, Matthias Weckmann, Vincent Lübeck and Johann Philipp Krieger.
For Osterreich, counterpoint and canon were concrete manifestations of the "order of God" (Ordnung Gottes), their elaboration revealing the divine, inscrutable essence of God's creation, not merely as a metaphor for His order, but as the concrete actualization of that order.
- Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.