Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812)
The Czech composer and virtuoso pianist Jan Ladislav Dussek (Dusik) was born at Caslav on February 12th 1760. His father, Jan Josef Dusikwas an organist and music teacher, and his mother, Veronica nee Stebeta was an excellent harpist. Originally baptised Jan Vaclav, he probably acquired the name Ladislav from one Ladislav Spinar, who was his music teacher at the Jesuit secondary school at Jihlava.
Dussek’s career as virtuoso pianist and composer began when he entered the service of Count Maenner, with whom he left Czechoslovakia for Belgium. In 1779 he became organist of St. Romuald’s Cathedral in Malines, and from 1780-83 he taught and played in Holland, where his compositions were first published. 1783 and 1784 saw him playing in Berlin and Mainz, and in 1786 he went to St. Petersburg where he stayed for two years in the service of Count Karl Radziwill. In 1786 Dussek visited Paris and Milan, returning to Paris in 1788. The Revolution obliged him, like so many other musicians of the time, to flee from Paris, and in 1790 he settled in London, marrying the harpist and singer Sophia Corri in 1792. The music-publishing firm he had established in London with his father-in-law Domenico Corri went bankrupt in 1800, and leaving his wife and young daughter Olivia (O.B.Dussek) in London, Dussek fled to Hamburg. From 1803 he was in the service of the Prince Louis Ferdinand, and in 1806 he served at the court of Count Ysenburk, ending his days as teacher and director of concerts to Count Talleyrand in Paris. He died at St Germain-en-Laye on March 12th 1812.
It is for the single-action harp that all Dussek’s compositions for the harp are intended. They include Concertos, Sonatas and many duos for single-action harp and fortepiano, of which the Opus 69 Duo-Sonatas written for performance by himself and F.J. Naderman in 1810 are the most notable.
(Courtesy of www.adlaismusicpublishers.co.uk)