Dr.h.c. Arbo VALDMA, professor of piano at the University of Music in Cologne (Germany) (1992-2012) was born in Pärnu (Estonia). He received his musical education at the Music Academy in Tallinn (Estonia) under Bruno Lukk (himself a student of Arthur Schnabel and Paul Hindemith) and later with Nina Emelyanova (a former student of Samuel Feinberg) at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow (Masters degree and Specialization).
In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Piano for advanced students at the State Conservatory of Tallinn and, from 1976, worked as Professor of Piano at the Music Academy of Novi Sad (former Yugoslavia). From 1984 to 1992, Arbo Valdma was Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy and Head of the Piano Department at the University of Belgrade (former Yugoslavia). From 1989 to 1992, he was also Dean of the Piano Faculty at the Academy of Arts at the University of Novi Sad.
Arbo Valdma has performed as a soloist throughout Europe and Australia and with orchestras under the direction of conductors such as N. Järvi, K. Sanderling, E. Klas. A. Janson and A. Rabinowitsch, O. Danon, N. Debelic, I. Drazinic, A. Nanut, P. Despalj, A. Kolar, as well as chamber music with, among others, Fern Raskovic (violin) and Walter Despalj (violoncello).
Since 1984, Arbo Valdma has given numerous Masterclasses around the world many times in cities such as Moscow, Rome, London, Thessaloniki, Athens, Calgary, Rome, Montepulciano, Ohrid, Belgrade, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Ljubljana, Kaushiung,Hong Kong,Peking, Fukuoka, Cologne, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tokyo, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Seoul, Tallinn, Pärnu etc.
From 2000 till 2007 masterclasses, lectures, interactive sessions, dewmonstrations and coaching at “The World Piano Pedagogy Conferences” in Atlanta, Los Angelos, Las Vegas and Fort Worth.
In 2007 the 1. International Piano Academy “Arbo Valdma”, (festival with former students of professor, masterclasses and conferences was held in foundation “Paul Hindemith” in Blonay/Swiss; and the 2. in 2008 in the Institute “Jacques Dalcroze” and in Salle Ernest-Ansermet – Radio Suisse Romande in Genève/Swiss. From 2007 till 2012 prof. Valdma was giving exclusive “Klavierbogen” fully sponsored masterclasses in Liechtenstein under foundation “Musik und Jugend”. Masterclasses in Malaysia started under guidance Persatuan Chopin Society Malaysia. From 2007 founded prof. dr. Tasuku and prof. Uiko Akagi Fukuoka International Music Festival with prof. Arbo Valdma. Intensive masterclasses and conference tour are realized since 2009, in China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Nanchang and Hong Kong by supervisor and coordinator manager Qian. Zhang) In the same and following years also Ewha Womans University organized the Masterclass in Seoul (Korea).
Arbo Valdma is a founding member of EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) Yugoslavia (in 1988), Honorary President of EPTA Serbia and an Honorary Member of EPTA Estonia.
In 1991, the Estonian Academy of Music awarded him the title of honour Doctor honoris causa.
In 2017, City Council of Pärnu (Estonia) awarded him title of Honour Citizen of Pärnu.
It is the highest honour in the power of the city Pärnu extremely rare awarded since 1886.
Since 2008 he is Founder and Honorary President of International Association of Cultural and Pedagogic Exchange “Unieffectus e.V” in Cologne.
2014 prof. Valdma was co-founder and music director of International Piano & Voice Point Festival in Vienna , 2015 in Graz Music University Department in Oberschützen and in 2016 in Princeton, at Rider University Choir College (USA) .
Up to 2010 is Arbo Valdma is Artistic Director of International Open Piano Competition Award F. Chopin and F. Liszt in Hong Kong. Since 2017 he is faculty member of “Music and More Summer Fest” in Trebinje (Bosnia & Hercegowina).
Prof. Arbo Valdma students have won numerous prizes at the most prestigious international piano competitions: Brussels (Queen Elisabeth), Vienna (Beethoven), Vevey (Clara Haskil), Leeds, Salzburg (Mozart), Bolzano (Busoni), Epinal, Geneva, Lausanne, Munich, Sydney, Vercelli, Washington and others.
Arbo Valdma has produced numerous television and radio programmes, as both writer and director, in which his students are playing music in something of an extraordinary manner. The lectures given by Arbo Valdma as part of international symposiums, as well as his published articles on piano pedagogy, have received remarkable acclaim. Since 2006, he has held four accredited seminars approved by the Serbian Institute for the development of Education.