Skip to main content

Weisse, Sophie, 1852-1945 (Scottish music teacher)

 Person

Dates

  • 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 6 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 04 February 1898

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L538
Scope and Contents Letter, 4 February 1898, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Describing the experience of playing with Kruse, details of a performance and of Oxford life. Holograph signed.
Dates: 04 February 1898

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 23 October 1895

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L423
Scope and Contents Letter, 23 October 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Recommending a music text book, apologising for neglecting Miss Weisse and description of a performance by Borwick. Holograph signed, with envelope.
Dates: 23 October 1895

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 19 May 1897

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L455
Scope and Contents Letter, 19 May 1897, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Praising a concert both had attended, thanking Miss. Weisse for a cheque, and news from Oxford. Holograph signed, with duplicate typescript copy, [3]p. 26 x 21cm.
Dates: 19 May 1897

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 25 May 1897

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L457
Scope and Contents Letter, 25 May 1897, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Tovey trying to sort out a misunderstanding between his father and Miss. Weisse and expressing anger that Tovey had not been chosen to play the piano at the Oxford club. Typescript copy.
Dates: 25 May 1897

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 20 June 1897

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L458
Scope and Contents Letter, 20 June 1897, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Information on Tovey's progress at Balliol, description of a performance and outlining future plans. Holograph signed, with duplicate typescript copy, 26 x 21cm.
Dates: 20 June 1897

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1895

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L376
Scope and Contents Letter, [1895], Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Criticism of a concert Tovey attended, description of a concert Tovey gave and description of Tovey's Oxford contemporaries. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1895