Skip to main content

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 95 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Hubert James Foss from Margaret Maitland, 27 November 1941

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2296
Scope and Contents

Letter, 27 November 1941, Oxford, Margaret Maitland to Hubert Foss. Informing Foss of Maitland's relationship to Tovey and reminiscences of Tovey and Maitland's youth. Holograph signed.

Dates: 27 November 1941

Letter to Sophie Weisse from A. D. Lumsden, 21 May 1941

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2278
Scope and Contents

Letter, 21 May 1941, Oxford, A. D. Lumsden to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for sending a chalk drawing of Tovey to Balliol college, Oxford. Holograph signed, with stamped envelope.

Dates: 21 May 1941

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Arthur Lionel Smith, 23 January 1917

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2460
Scope and Contents

Letter, 23 January 1917, Oxford, Arthur L. Smith to Sophie Weisse. A discussion of and suggested draft for Miss. Weisse's proposed Tovey memorial scholarship. Typescript signed.

Dates: 23 January 1917

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, c 02 April 1905

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2559
Scope and Contents

Letter, 2 April [1905], Oxford, Ernest Walker to Sophie Weisse. Accepting an invitation to hear Tovey play. Holograph signed.

Dates: c 02 April 1905

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 Ernest Walker, c 02 February 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2561
Scope and Contents

Letter, 2 March [n.y], Oxford, Ernest Walker to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for sending Walker tickets to go to a concert and explaining that he was unable to go. Holograph signed.

Dates: c 02 February 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Harold H. Joachim, 25 November 1908

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2254
Scope and Contents

Letter, 25 November 1908, Oxford, Harold H. Joachim to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse and Tovey their kindness, and allowing Harold Joachim to hear wonderful music. Holograph signed.

Dates: 25 November 1908

Letter to Sophie Weisse from John Farmer, 08 May 1899

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2139
Scope and Contents

Letter, 8 May 1899, Oxford, John Farmer to Sophie Weisse. Praising Tovey's exceptional talent, comparing the young Tovey to Brahms. Holograph signed.

Dates: 08 May 1899

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

Filtered By

  • Subject: Oxford Oxfordshire England X

Additional filters:

Social Interaction 56
Instruction and Study 28
Surrey (England) 24
Performances 13
Concert Programs 12