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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 71 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Dr Mary Gardner Grierson from Sophie Weisse, 09 August 1925

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2582
Scope and Contents Letter, 9 August 1925, Surrey, Sophie Weisse to Mary Grierson. Requesting information about the parts to Tovey's symphony for a performance in Dresden. Holograph signed.
Dates: 09 August 1925

Letter to F. W. Kelly from Sophie Weisse, c1930

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2636
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Sophie Weisse to F. W. Kelly. Arranging to perform a Brahms work and suggesting that Kelly should compose a work for Tovey. Holograph incomplete.
Dates: c1930

Letter to [Robert Calverley Trevelyan] from Sophie Weisse, c1935

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2635
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Surrey, Sophie Weisse to [Robert Trevelyan]. Discussion of a grave of a composer and news that Lady Tovey has deposited Tovey ms. in a bank. Holograph incomplete.
Dates: c1935

Letter to Sir Donald Francis Tovey from Sophie Weisse, 21 January 1892

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L1876
Scope and Contents Letter, 21 January 1892, Windsor, Sophie Weisse to Donald Tovey. Advising Tovey to work on the 'Airs', wishing Tovey well and advice on preserving his health. Typescript copy.
Dates: 21 January 1892

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Alfred James Hipkins, 16 March 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2227
Scope and Contents Letter, 16 March 1900, London, A. J. Hipkins to Sophie Weisse. Praising a work by Tovey and agreeing to promote and support Tovey. Holograph signed.
Dates: 16 March 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Hilaire Belloc, 08 July 1911

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2042
Scope and Contents Letter, 8 July 1911, Sussex, Hilaire Belloc to Sophie Weisse. Suggesting that Tovey put music to Belloc's children's verses. Typescript signed.
Dates: 08 July 1911

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Robert Calverley Trevelyan, 20 October 1917

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2354
Scope and Contents Letter, 20 October 1917, Robert Trevelyan to Sophie Weisse. Reassuring Miss. Weisse that Trevelyan has Tovey's best interests at heart and is keen for Tovey to finish the ' Bride of Dionysus'. Holograph in pencil.
Dates: 20 October 1917

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 20 January 1894

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2370
Scope and Contents Letter, 20 January 1894, London, Hubert C. Parry to Sophie Weisse. Attempting to arrange a time to look over Tovey's symphony. Holograph signed.
Dates: 20 January 1894

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 27 February 1894

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2373
Scope and Contents Letter, 27 February 1894, Gloucester, Hubert Parry to Sophie Weisse. Criticism of Tovey's composition and comment on Tovey's ability and talent. Holograph signed.
Dates: 27 February 1894

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Francis Tovey, c1888

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L344
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Surrey, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Discussion of the first movement of Beethoven's Eroica. Holograph signed.
Dates: c1888