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 16 Collections and/or Records:
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
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
Scope and Contents Letter, 1 December 1894, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Discussion of Tovey's progress in classical scholarship, and his anxiety over balancing music scholarship and classical scholarship. Holograph signed.
Dates: 01 December 1894
Scope and Contents Letter, 15 March 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Discussion of technique and spontaneity in music and criticism of a music committee. Holograph signed, in pencil, with stamped envelope.
Dates: 15 March 1895
Scope and Contents Letter, 4 March 1894, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Expressing anxiety over the Amsterdam choir. Holograph signed, with envelope.
Dates: 04 March 1895
Scope and Contents Letter, , Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Advice on musical themes, discussion of meeting with Parry. Holograph signed.
Scope and Contents Letter, 24 February 1897, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Anxiety over the pressures of Oxford life and doubting his skills of composition. Typescript copy.
Dates: 24 February 1897
Scope and Contents Letter, 20 May 1897, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Notes describing Oxford life and Tovey's plans for composition in University holidays. Holograph signed, with duplicate typescript copy, p. 27 x 20cm.
Dates: 20 May 1897
Scope and Contents Letter, 21 February 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Covering note for the themes of a first movement of a composition by Tovey. Holograph signed, with stamped envelope.
Dates: 21 February 1895