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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 24 Collections and/or Records:

Letter ( post script) to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1922

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L670
Scope and Contents Letter ( post script), [1922], Canstatt, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Description of a production of Salome and a Roger concert, and news of Swoboda. Holograph signed, post-script of L669.
Dates: c1922

Letter to Sophie Weise from Fanny Davies, c13 November 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2111
Scope and Contents Letter, 13 November [n.y], London, Fanny Davies to Sophie Weise. Thanking Miss. Weisse and Tovey for a ticket to a concert. Holograph signed.
Dates: c13 November 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Alice M. Price, c 12 September 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2407
Scope and Contents Letter, 12 September [n.y], Alice M. Price to Sophie Weisse. Looking forward to Tovey's piano recital, and informing Miss. Weisse of Prices visit to Englefield Green. Holograph signed.
Dates: c 12 September 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Antonia Speyer, 27 November 1906

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2471
Scope and Contents Letter, 27 November 1906, Hertfordshire, Antonia Speyer to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for her kindness and describing Tovey's playing as exquisite. Holograph signed.
Dates: 27 November 1906

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby, 10 May 1901

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2403
Scope and Contents Letter, 10 May 1901, Ascot, Mary Ponsonby to Sophie Weisse. Informing Miss. Weisse how thoroughly Ponsonby enjoyed Tovey's concert of the Bach variations and asking Miss. Weisse a question about a sewage pipe. Holograph signed.
Dates: 10 May 1901

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

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, 25 January 1902

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L573
Scope and Contents Letter, 25 January 1902, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Details of a concert and Tovey's anger with Bechstein for giving him a poor piano. Typescript copy.
Dates: 25 January 1902

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 01 February 1909

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L621
Scope and Contents Letter, 1 February 1909, Hertfordshire Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Concerning Percy Such and Hausman's relationship and a series of concerts. Holograph signed.
Dates: 01 February 1909

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c01 March 1916

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L646
Scope and Contents Letter, [March 1916], Edinburgh, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. News of a successful Reid concert, criticism of a music critic in 'The Scotsman', and news of life in Edinburgh. Holograph unfinished, on University of Edinburgh headed notepaper.
Dates: c01 March 1916

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1922

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L660
Scope and Contents Letter, [1922], Dusseldorf, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. News of the Busch family, Tovey's symphony, details of a successful concert at Prague, news of Mr. and Mrs. Rontgen, . Holograph signed.
Dates: c1922