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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 8 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Dr Mary Gardner Grierson from Janet Tessier du Cros, 16 March 1952

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2512
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

Letter to Sir Donald Francis Tovey from Sophie Weisse, 29 October 1893

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L1890
Scope and Contents Letter, 29 October 1893, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Donald Tovey. Covering note for some cod-liver oil, and advising Donald to work daily. Typescript copy.
Dates: 29 October 1893

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Antonia Speyer, 27 March 1908

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2472
Scope and Contents Letter, 27 March 1908, Hertfordshire, Antonia Speyer to Sophie Weisse. Expressing gratitude for Miss. Weisse's kindness and Tovey's encouragement musically. Holograph signed.
Dates: 27 March 1908

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Edward Lyttelton, c 09 March 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2280
Scope and Contents Letter, 9 March [n.y], Eton, E Lyttelton to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for her letter and news that Lyttelton wishes to sing for Miss. Weisse and Tovey. Holograph signed.
Dates: c 09 March 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from F. Warre Cornish, 24 October 1915

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2094
Scope and Contents Letter, 24 October 1915, Windsor, F. Warre Cornish to Sophie Weisse. News of F. W. Cornish, praising the playing of Tovey and Henschel. Holograph signed.
Dates: 24 October 1915

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 Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 10 May 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2385
Scope and Contents Letter, 10 May 1900, London, Hubert C. Parry to Sophie Weisse. Discussion of violin and pianoforte methods, news of Tovey's development. Holograph signed.
Dates: 10 May 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Wilma Halle, 25 December 1909

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2205
Scope and Contents Letter, 25 December 1909, London, Wilma Halle to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for her kindness expressing a desire to play with Tovey for pleasure. Holograph signed.
Dates: 25 December 1909