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 50 Collections and/or Records:
Scope and Contents Letter, [n.d], Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Describing Tovey's indigestion, asking for advice concerning the performance of Tovey's violin sonata at the Oxford University musical club. Photocopy of Holograph signed.
Scope and Contents Letter, 23 December 1901, Bonn, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Description of the nursing Tovey is receiving, his health and concern for ' the Princess '. Holograph incomplete.
Dates: 23 December 1901
Scope and Contents Letter, [25 December 1906], Surrey, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. News of Tovey's Christmas and his mothers illness. Typescript copy.
Dates: c25 December 1906
Scope and Contents Letter, 22 April 1919, London, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Arranging to meet Miss. Weisse, hint of Tovey's wife's condition and comments on church music Tovey has heard recently. Holograph signed, paper headed ' Hotel Victory, Leicester Square, W.C. 2.
Dates: 22 April 1919
Scope and Contents Letter, [25 April 1920], Kent, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Notes on the progress of the opera, comments on Tovey's wife's condition, and details of copying a vocal score. Holograph signed.
Dates: c 25 April 1920
Scope and Contents Letter, [May 1922], Edinburgh, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. News of Tovey's wife's recovery, details of forthcoming engagements and discussion of the status of the music faculty within the University. Holograph signed.
Dates: c01 May 1922
Scope and Contents Letter, , Canstatt, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Informing Miss. Weisse of Tovey's receipt of a letter from Lady Berry and a discussion of Tovey's illness. Holograph signed.
Scope and Contents Letter, [September 1922], Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Criticism of Dickens and news of Tovey's illness. Holograph signed.
Dates: c01 September 1922
Scope and Contents Letter, August 1923, Donald Tovey to Sophie Weisse. Informing Miss. Weisse of the treatment for Tovey's skin condition and the price of treatment, news of Swoboda, . Holograph signed in pencil, incomplete.
Dates: c01 August 1923