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 16 Collections and/or Records:

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 21 March 1895

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L383
Scope and Contents Postcard, 21 March 1895, Surrey, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. List of scores Tovey requires. Holograph signed.
Dates: 21 March 1895

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 22 February 1895

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L400
Scope and Contents Postcard, [22 February 1895], Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Informing Miss Weisse of the development of a composition. Holograph signed.
Dates: 22 February 1895

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 31 January 1896

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L431
Scope and Contents Postcard, 31 January 1896, Surrey, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. News of the Tovey family, and Tovey composing music for his brothers play. Holograph signed.
Dates: 31 January 1896

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1907

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L608
Scope and Contents Postcard, 1907, Liverpool, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. List of musical works. Typescript copy.
Dates: c1907

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 06 March 1909

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L620
Scope and Contents Postcard, 6 March 1909, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. A theme of Tovey's new composition. Holograph.
Dates: 06 March 1909

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1912

 Item
Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L633
Scope and Contents Postcard, [1912], Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Description and criticism of Beethoven's Fidelio. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1912