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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 692 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Hubert James Foss from Sophie Weisse, c1942

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2579
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Sophie Weisse to Hubert Foss. Sending Foss a picture of Tovey, and describing Tovey's death as a tragedy. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1942

Letter to Hubert JJames Foss from Sophie Weisse, 01 September 1941

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2573
Scope and Contents Letter, 1 September 1941, Edinburgh, Sophie Weisse to Hubert Foss. Commenting that Tovey did buy himself a big Bosendorfer piano before he died, and commenting on the tragedy of his life. Holograph signed.
Dates: 01 September 1941

Letter to Mary Tovey from Sophie Weisse, 18 June 1898

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2625
Scope and Contents Letter, 18 June 1898, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Mary Tovey. News of Tovey, suggesting he would have got a better class of degree had he worked harder. Holograph signed.
Dates: 18 June 1898

Letter to Mary Tovey from Sophie Weisse, 01 May 1905

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2626
Scope and Contents Letter, 1 May 1905, Cologne, Sophie Weisse to Mary Tovey. Informing Mrs. Tovey that her son is well and to play in some forthcoming concerts. Holograph signed.
Dates: 01 May 1905

Letter to Mollie Macarthy from Sophie Weisse, c1920

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2623
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Sophie Weisse to Mollie Macarthy. Informing Molly Macarthy of Miss. Weisse's memories of being at school with Robert Louis Stevenson and suggesting that her father, Mr. Weisse suggested that Stevenson should pursue a career in literature. Typescript copy.
Dates: c1920

Letter to Mr. Jekyll from Sophie Weisse, c1940

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2637
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Sophie Weisse to Mr. Jekyll. Outlining Miss. Weisse's plans for Tovey's library and requesting that Jekyll send someone to value the books and library as a whole. Holograph incomplete.
Dates: c1940

Letter to Mrs. Jekyll from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L551
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Surrey, Donald Tovey to Mrs. Jekyll. Accepting an invitation on 23rd July. Typescript copy.
Dates: c1900

Letter to Robert Calverley Trevelyan from Hubert James Foss, 12 January 1944

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2156
Scope and Contents Letter, 12 January 1944, London, Hubert Foss to Robert Trevelyan. Informing Trevelyan that Foss has received a proof for an article in 'Music and letters', and news of Miss. Weisse and her state of health. Holograph signed.
Dates: 12 January 1944

Letter to Robert Calverley Trevelyan from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1914

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L201
Scope and Contents Letter, [1914], Peterborough, Donald Tovey to Robert Trevelyan. Tovey outlining where and for whom he will perform. Ms. transcript by Hubert Foss.
Dates: c1914

Letter to Robert Calverley Trevelyan from Sophie Weisse, 11 February 1917

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2627
Scope and Contents Letter, 11 February 1917, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Robert Trevelyan. Informing Trevelyan that Miss. Weisse has found final sketches for the end of the opera, and that Thomas Beecham will be visiting Edinburgh in a month. Holograph signed.
Dates: 11 February 1917