Sophia Dussek

1775-1831

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Sophia Giustina Dussek (née Corri; later Moralt; Edinburgh, 1 May 1775 – London, ca. 1831) was a Scottish singer, pianist, harpist, and composer of Italian descent.

In 1792, Dussek married the composer Jan Ladislav Dussek. Following Jan's death in 1812, Sophia married the violist John Alvis Moralt. The couple lived in Paddington, where she founded a music school.

The opus 2 sonatas were published in at least 3 editions in the 1790s by the Corri-Dussek company in London as by Madame Dussek, and there is no reason to doubt that the 6 sonatas of opus 2, including the famous C minor sonata published and misattributed by Schott as by JL, are anything but the work of Sophia. Paris editions of opus 2 published by Pleyel only bear the name Dussek, leading Zabaleta to his misattribution, but nobody actually claimed opus 2 as the work of JL rather than Dussek before the mid-20th century.

Sophia Dussek was born into the Corri family. She studied voice with her father, composer, music publisher, and impresario Domenico Corri. Her uncle was composer Natale Corri and her cousin was soprano Fanny Corri-Paltoni. Her father provided Sophia with vocal instruction and had her performing from a young age. She was well known as a soprano and composer of songs.

After moving to London in 1788, she studied with Luigi Marchesi and Giovanni Battista Cimador. Dussek was a highly accomplished performer and she had her London debut at the prestigious Salomon concerts in 1791 with Haydn directing from the harpsichord, and afterwards sang quite a bit of the series, taking part in the first performance of Haydn’s The Storm. In 1792, she sang the lead in the premiere of Harriet Wainwright's opera Comala.

She also played a big role in the introduction of Mozart's music to London. She was a soloist in the London premiere of the Requiem, given at John Ashley's Lenten Oratorios, Covent Garden, on 20 February 1801. In 1792 she married Jan Ladislav Dussek. She had been performing, singing and playing the piano and harp with him for some time before that. Their daughter, Olivia, was also a pianist, harpist, and composer.

After Jan Ladislav's death in 1812 Sophia married the viola player John Alvis Moralt. They lived in Paddington, where she established a music school. She published sonatas, rondos, variations, and numerous arrangements for the piano or harp.

from Wikipedia