12th February 1760
20th March 1812
Čáslav, Bohemia, Czech Republic
Jan Ladislav Dussek (baptized Václav Jan Dusík, with surname also written as Duschek or Düssek) was a Czech composer and pianist. He was an important representative of Czech music abroad in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Some of his more forward-looking piano works have traits often associated withRomanticism.
Dussek was one of the first piano virtuosos to travel widely throughout Europe. He performed at courts and concert venues from London toSaint Petersburg to Milan, and was celebrated for his technical prowess. During a nearly ten-year stay in London, he was instrumental in extending the size of the pianoforte, and was the recipient of one of John Broadwood's first 6-foot (1.8-meter) pianos. Harold Schonberg wrote that he was the first pianist to sit at the piano with his profile to the audience, earning him the appellation "le beau visage." All subsequent pianists have sat on stage in this manner. He was one of the best-regarded pianists in Europe before Beethoven's rise to prominence.