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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:

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 13 October 1895

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L419
Scope and Contents

Postcard, 13 October 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Apologising for not writing and explaining Tovey's worries, and pressures. Holograph signed.

Dates: 13 October 1895

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 14 October 1895

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/l420
Scope and Contents

Postcard, 14 October 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Description of life at Oxford. Holograph signed.

Dates: 14 October 1895

Postcard to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 12 May 1895

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2683
Scope and Contents

Postcard, 12 May 1895, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Indicating the timing of several works and informing Miss. Weisse that Brahms has accepted honorary membership of the musical club. Photocopy of Holograph signed.

Dates: 12 May 1895

Telegram to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, 21 March 1896

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2761
Scope and Contents

Telegram, 21 March 1896, Oxford, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. ' Sorry cannot come till Monday Donald'. Typescript copy.

Dates: 21 March 1896

Filtered By

  • Subject: Surrey (England) X
  • Subject: Oxford Oxfordshire England X

Additional filters:

Social Interaction 13
Composition (Music) 4
Instruction and Study 3
Examinations 2
Performances 2