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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 68 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Alfred James Hipkins, 16 March 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2227
Scope and Contents Letter, 16 March 1900, London, A. J. Hipkins to Sophie Weisse. Praising a work by Tovey and agreeing to promote and support Tovey. Holograph signed.
Dates: 16 March 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Edward Caird, c1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2061
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Oxford, Edward Caird to Sophie Weisse. Describing Tovey's academic progress, and explaining Tovey's poor performance in examinations. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Ernest Walker, 26 December 1908

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2560
Scope and Contents Letter, 26 December 1908, Oxford, Ernest Walker to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for a picture of herself and Tovey, suggesting that it is a privilege to teach Tovey. Holograph signed.
Dates: 26 December 1908

Letter to Sophie Weisse from James Higgs, 16 November 1889

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2215
Scope and Contents Letter, 16 November 1889, London, James Higgs to Sophie Weisse. Commenting on a pupils, [Tovey's] progress. Holograph signed.
Dates: 16 November 1889

Letter to Sophie Weisse from [James Higgs], 30 September 1890

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2217
Scope and Contents Letter, 30 September 1890, London, [James Higgs] to Sophie Weisse. Arranging a time to resume Tovey's lessons, and suggesting preparation for Tovey. Holograph signed.
Dates: 30 September 1890

Letter to Sophie Weisse from James Higgs, 03 October 1890

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2218
Scope and Contents Letter, 3 October 1890, London, James Higgs to Sophie Weisse. Praising Tovey's progress and suggesting that Tovey should not be pushed. Holograph signed.
Dates: 03 October 1890

Letter to Sophie Weisse from James Higgs, 24 January 1891

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2219
Scope and Contents Letter, 24 January 1891, London, James Higgs to Sophie Weisse. Discussing Tovey's progress and suggesting he has a lesson in counterpoint every other week. Holograph signed.
Dates: 24 January 1891

Letter to Sophie Weisse from James Higgs, 07 April 1893

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2221
Scope and Contents Letter, 7 April 1893, London, James Higgs to Sophie Weisse. Praise of the young Tovey's progress in counterpoint and exceptional musical talent. Holograph signed, with envelope written on by Miss. Weisse.
Dates: 07 April 1893

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Oxford Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1895

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L433
Scope and Contents Letter, [1895], Oxford Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Details of Tovey's progress in his studies at Balliol. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1895

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 27 May 1890

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2349
Scope and Contents Letter, 27 May 1890, London, Hubert C. Parry to Sophie Weisse. Arranging times of Tovey's lessons. Holograph signed.
Dates: 27 May 1890