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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 82 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Alice M. Price, c 12 September 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2407
Scope and Contents

Letter, 12 September [n.y], Alice M. Price to Sophie Weisse. Looking forward to Tovey's piano recital, and informing Miss. Weisse of Prices visit to Englefield Green. Holograph signed.

Dates: c 12 September 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Antonia Speyer, 27 November 1906

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2471
Scope and Contents

Letter, 27 November 1906, Hertfordshire, Antonia Speyer to Sophie Weisse. Thanking Miss. Weisse for her kindness and describing Tovey's playing as exquisite. Holograph signed.

Dates: 27 November 1906

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Gaskell, c1890

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2173
Scope and Contents

Letter, [n.d], Manchester, Gaskell to Sophie Weisse. Praising Tovey's genius and concert performances. Holograph signed, with envelope, annotated by Miss. Weisse, ' Contains a delightful and considerable valuable letter from Mrs. or Miss. Gaskell about dear Donald '.

Dates: c1890

Letter to [Sophie Weisse] from H. A. Scott, 01 April 1901

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2445
Scope and Contents

Letter, 1 April 1901, London, H. A. Scott to [Sophie Weisse]. Thanking Miss. Weisse for Berlin press cuttings on Tovey, discussing the first performance of the Goldberg variations. Holograph signed.

Dates: 01 April 1901

Letter to Sophie Weisse from John Alexander Fuller-Maitland, c1917

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2169
Scope and Contents

Letter, [1917], Edinburgh, J. A. Fuller - Maitland to Sophie Weisse. Praising Tovey's opera, and other material and performances he has produced, . Holograph signed.

Dates: c1917

Letter to [Sophie Weisse] from Joseph Joachim, 02 February 1905

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2261
Scope and Contents

Letter, 2 February 1905, Berlin, Joseph Joachim to [Sophie Weisse]. Discussing Joachim's plans to see Tovey and to perform Laucker's concerts with Tovey. Dictated signed.

Dates: 02 February 1905

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Joseph Joachim, c 08 February 1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2263
Scope and Contents

Letter, 8 February [n.y], Cambridge, Joseph Joachim to Sophie Weisse. Commenting on a concert performance of Tovey's and planning a programme for a future concert. Holograph signed.

Dates: c 08 February 1900

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby, 10 May 1901

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2403
Scope and Contents

Letter, 10 May 1901, Ascot, Mary Ponsonby to Sophie Weisse. Informing Miss. Weisse how thoroughly Ponsonby enjoyed Tovey's concert of the Bach variations and asking Miss. Weisse a question about a sewage pipe. Holograph signed.

Dates: 10 May 1901

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Neville Stephen Bulwer-Lytton, 12 December 1911

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2279
Scope and Contents

Letter, 12 December 1911, Sussex, Neville Lytton to Sophie Weisse. Expressing admiration for Tovey's playing. Holograph signed.

Dates: 12 December 1911

Letter to Sophie Weisse from Sir Donald Frances Tovey, c1900

Identifier: Coll-411/1/1/L2674
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.

Dates: c1900

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  • Subject: Performances X

Additional filters:

Social Interaction 24
Concert Programs 13
Oxford Oxfordshire England 13
London (England) 12
Surrey (England) 8