Arbo Valdma

Arbo Valdma
b. 20.02.1942 Pärnu

Arbo Valdma began piano studies at Pärnu Children’s Music School under the guidance of Alice Mardi. He continued studies at Tallinn Music School (1958–1961) with Hilja Olm and at Tallinn State Conservatoire (1961–1966) with Bruno Lukk. In 1966–1969 Arbo Valdma furthered studies at Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow under the guidance of Nina Jemeljanova and Aleksandr Nikolajev.

In 1970–1973 Arbo Valdma was soloist of ESSR State Philharmonia and 1970–1972 also pedagogue of Tallinn State Conservatoire. In 1972–1992 Valdma lived and worked in Yugoslavia and was Professor at the Music Academy of Novi Sad (also Dean of the Piano Faculty in 1989–1992) and University of Belgrade (also head of the piano department).
In 1992, out of 70 candidates, Arbo Valdma was chosen for the role of Professor in the Cologne University and lives since then in Germany.

Since 1984 Arbo Valdma has given more than 120 masterclasses around the world including Estonia, England, Russia, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, China and USA including also London’s Guildhall School of Music and Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Intensive courses „International Piano Academy“ took place 2007–2009 in Switzerland, Geneva and 2007–2010 „Klavierbogen“ in Lichtenstein. Since 2007 in Japan Fukuoka and Nagoya takes place „International Music Festival with prof. Arbo Valdma“. He has also lead master courses and taken part of conferences in conservatoires of China including Beijing, Guangzhou, Xi'An, Nanchang, Hong Kong and participated at juri’s work of the Hong Kong International Piano Open Competition „The Liszt Award“ (2010, 2012 and 2014). Since 2002 Arbo Valdma is an artistic director and pedagogue of international master class for pianists „SUVEUNIversiteet“, which takes place in Pärnu. He is also chairman of nonprofit organisation „Unieffectus“ which promotes cooperation and cultural exchange of univerities of China and Europe. In 2014 Unieffectus launched International Piano Point Festival in Austria, Vienna, where particiapted over 30 pianists from China, Germany, Korea and Slovenia.

Arbo Valdma’s students have won numerous prizes at the most prestigious international piano competitions including Brussels (Queen Elisabeth), Vienna (Beethoven), Vevey (Clara Haskil), Cologne (F. Chopin), Epinal, Geneva, Lausanne, Leeds, Munich, Sydney, Vercelli, Washington and others. His students include among others Hanna Heinmaa, Kadri-Ann Sumera, Andre Hinn, Margus Riimaa, Külliki Seepter jpt.

As a solo pianist Arbo Valdma began in 1965 in Estonia and gained recognition with his distinctive ideas for his concert programs, also organizing concert series. He also performed as an ensemblist with Estonian musicians as Valdur Roots, Lilian Semper, Urve Tauts, Jüri Gerretz, Lemmo Erendy, Samuel Saulus, Georg Ots, Tiit Kuusik and Jenny Siimon. He continued concert activity in Yugoslavia, gave solo concertos and performed with renowned musicians Fern Raskovic (violin) and Walter Despalj (cello). Arbo Valdma has performed as a soloist throughout Europe and Australia and with orchestras under the direction of conductors such as Neeme Järvi, Kurt Sanderling, Eri Klas, Alfred Janson, Alexander Rabinowitsch, Oscar Danon, Nikola Debelic, Ivo Drazinic, Anton Nanut, Pavle Despalj and Anton Kolar. His repertoire comprises also a lot of Estonian music and he has has been first performer of Estonian composers works including Jaan Rääts’ Piano Concerto No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 4, Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 41 and Kuldar Sink’s Piano Concertino. In addition he has made recordings for Estonian Public Broadcast and radio stations as Deutche Welle, Radio Televizia Belgland, Novi Sad and RTV Zagreb (including 3 hours of Estonian piano music).

Arbo Valdma is a founding member of EPTA’s (European Piano Teachers Association) Department in Yugoslavia (established in 1988); Honorary President of EPTA Serbia and initiator of the founding of EPTA in Estonia (also Honorary Member of EPTA). In 1991, he was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa grade by Estonian Music Academy.  The lectures given by Arbo Valdma as part of international symposiums, as well as his published articles on piano pedagogy, have received worldwide acclaim. Arbo Valdma has produced numerous television and radio programs, as both writer and director, in which his students are playing music in something of an extraordinary manner.

In 1977 and 1983 Arbo Valdma was given award of  „Belgrad best musician of the year“ and 1985 prize of the Yugoslavian Radio and TV. 1. In 1993 Valdma was honoured the highest reward of Serbia „Dositej Obradović“ for pedagogical lifework. In February 2009, Pärnu City Government honoured Prof. Arbo Valdma with Pärnu City’s “Honour Insignia” for developing the local cultural and educational life and conducting Masters Courses in Pärnu for many years.

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