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Tovey, Sir Donald Francis, 1875-1940 (Reid Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh)



  • Existence: 1875-1940

Donald Francis Tovey was born at Eton on 17 July 1875. His father was an Assistant Master at Eton College. He was educated privately by the music and general teacher Miss Sophie Weisse (1851-1945) and later on studied under Sir Walter Parratt (1841-1924) and Sir C. H. Parry (1848-1918). Tovey then won a music scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, graduating with a BA, Classical honours, in 1898. As a pianist, a series of chamber music concerts followed in London, Berlin and Vienna where he played with Halle, Joachim, Hausmann, Casals, and other artists. He also composed. In 1914 he was appointed to the Reid Chair of Music at Edinburgh University in succession to Professor Niecks (1845-1924). As Professor he broadened the music curriculum by instituting classes in musical interpretation, orchestration, history and analysis, thorough-bass, score reading, and advanced counter-point and composition. Tovey also established and conducted the Reid Orchestra and organised an annual series of concerts. His musical compositions were in many forms including chamber music, symphony, grand opera and concerto, and probably the most famous was his opera The bride of Dionysus produced in Edinburgh in 1929. His literary publications include the six volumes of Essays in musical analysis (1935-1939), and A musician talks (1941). Tovey was knighted in 1935. Sir Donald Francis Tovey died on 10 July 1940.

Found in 2126 Collections and/or Records:

Card to Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan from Miss. Wallace, c 29 December 1914

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2569
Scope and Contents Card, 29 December [n.y], Miss. Wallace to Robert and Elizabeth Trevelyan. Inviting the Trevelyan's to a celebration on the occasion of the forthcoming marriage between Clara Wallace and Donald Francis Tovey. Typescript.

Envelope with clippings of obituaries for two of Joachim's friends: Sir Donald Tovey and Mrs Edward Speyer, 12 July 1940; October 1939

Identifier: Coll-1711/3/8
Scope and Contents From the Series: This series comprises newspaper clippings in German and in English dating from 1874 to 1989, on various subjects and events relating to Joachim such as celebrations in his honour, Jubilee concerts, obituaries after his death, anniversary events, etc.

Letter ( post script) to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1922

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L670
Scope and Contents Letter ( post script), [1922], Canstatt, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Description of a production of Salome and a Roger concert, and news of Swoboda. Holograph signed, post-script of L669.

Letter to ( Aunt ) Jeanette Green from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c 25 December 1908

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L683
Scope and Contents Letter, [25 December 1908], Donald Tovey to ( Aunt ) Jeanette Green. Informing of the death of Aunt Bessie, consoling and sympathetic tone. Holograph signed.

Letter to ' Bessie' [Elizabeth Trevelyan] from Florence Emily Barger, 23 November 1925

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2024
Scope and Contents Letter, 23 November 1925, Edinburgh, Florence Barger to ' Bessie' [Elizabeth Trevelyan]. Informing 'Bessie' of Tovey's engagement to Minnie Wallace, discussing the engagement and news of Tovey . Holograph signed.

Letter to [' Dear Sir'] from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1899

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L534
Scope and Contents Letter, [1899], Donald Tovey to [' Dear Sir']. Suggesting that the British Museum should reorganise it's catalogue. Holograph signed.

Letter to [ Dr Mary Gardner Grierson ] from Sophie Weisse, c1935

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2615
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Surrey, Sophie Weisse to [ Mary Grierson ]. Discussion of what Tovey should be given when he is ill, Bovril or chicken jelly. Holograph incomplete.

Letter to [ Hubert James Foss ] from Harry Stuart. Goodhart-Rendel, 02 January 1942

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2175
Scope and Contents Letter, 2 January 1942, Surrey, H. S. Goodhart Rendel to [ Hubert Foss ]. Describing memories of Tovey. Holograph signed.

Letter to [ Sir Donald Francis Tovey] from The Hispanic Society of America, 27 June 1922

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2775
Scope and Contents Letter, 27 June 1922, London, The Hispanic Society of America to [ Donald Tovey]. Requesting a copy of Tovey's analysis of The Goldberg Variations. Holograph signed.

Letter to 'a Professor ' from Sir Hugh Percy Allen, 17 January 1943

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2002
Scope and Contents Letter, 17 January 1943, Oxford, Hugh Allen to ' a Professor '. Regret that the recipient will not join the Tovey memorial committee, and a discussion of Tovey's written works. Holograph signed.