Weisse, Sophie, 1852-1945 (Scottish music teacher)
- Existence: 1852-1945
Sophie Weisse was born in Edinburgh in 1852 to a German father and Lithuanian mother. Little is known of her early life and education. In 1892, she founded the all-girls school of Northlands in Surrey, which she ran for twenty-five years. Although Northlands was a school of general education, music was given a particularly prominent place in the curriculum, and musical celebrities were often invited to visit and perform. Weisse employed the young Donald Tovey as a pianist at the school’s concerts, which provided a launch for his career as a musician and composer. Weisse had discovered Tovey’s talent at the age of four and had managed all aspects of his education. She further supported his career by funding the publication of his works between 1903 and 1913. Weisse and Tovey maintained a lifelong relationship. When Tovey was appointed to Edinburgh University’s Reid Chair of Music in 1914, Weisse followed him to Edinburgh. As Reid Professor, Tovey bestowed on Weisse an honorary degree of Doctor of Music in 1936. Weisse died in Guildford in 1945.
Weisse was a major benefactor of the University of Edinburgh. On Tovey’s death in 1941, she gifted 18 Buccleuch Place to the University as 'The Tovey Memorial Rooms', with the intention that it be used for student study. She also gifted the University portraits of Tovey and herself by Philip de Laszlo and endowed the Tovey Memorial Prize as an annual award for the most promising undergraduate composer or performer in the Faculty of Music. Her collection of around 600 books and scores relating to Beethoven was purchased by the University in 1948.
Found in 692 Collections and/or Records:
Scope and Contents Envelope, 16 June 1941, Northampton, Mary Beasley to Sophie Weisse. Holograph.
Dates: 16 June 1941
Scope and Contents Letter ( post script), , 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.
Scope and Contents Letter, 4 January [n.y], Chichester, Hugh Allen to 'a Professor'. Inviting the recipient to join the committee of the Tovey memorial fund. Holograph signed.
Dates: c 04 January 1940
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Sophie Weisse to [Antonia Speyer]. A condemnation of the Classical concerts and a suggestion that this concert series should not be continued. Typescript copy.
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.
Dates: 23 November 1925
Scope and Contents Letter, 3 August 1917, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Dr. Jekyll. Inviting Dr.Jekyll to stay, news that Miss. Weisse has been cataloguing Tovey's library. Holograph signed.
Dates: 03 August 1917
Scope and Contents Letter, 1 September 1917, East Lothian, Sophie Weisse to Dr. Jekyll. Asking Jekyll to help Miss. Weisse catalogue Tovey's library. Holograph signed.
Dates: 01 September 1917
Scope and Contents Letter, 26 Sepember 1917, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Dr. Jekyll. Discussions concerning Tovey's library, an estimated cost of the library and a suggestion that the library be donated to Balliol college, Oxford. Holograph signed.
Dates: 26 Sepember 1917
Scope and Contents Letter, 16 March 1952, Paris, Janet Tessier du Cros to Mary Grierson. Praising Grierson's biography of Tovey, and her diplomatic style of writing and describing Tessier du Cros' musical training. Typescript signed, with stamped envelope, for Tessier du Cros see also Janet Grierson.
Dates: 16 March 1952
Scope and Contents Letter, 30 March 1922, Amsterdam, Johannes Rontgen to Mary Grierson. expressing delight at news of Miss. Weisse's travels, suggesting he meet up with the Rontgens' in Holland, describing memories of Edinburgh, asking Miss. Weisse about the Reid orchestra, suggesting Bartock is the best modern composer living, and best wishes. Holograph signed.
Dates: 30 March 1922