(artistic director and chief conductor)
Arvo Volmer is one of the most acclaimed opera and orchestra conductors in Estonia whose career is hemmed by numerous renowned recordings. He made his conducting debut in the 1980s with two of the most important Estonian music ensembles in his career: Estonian National Opera in 1985 and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 1987. His successful participation in the International Nicolai Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen (1989) launched his international career. From 1989 he was engaged by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) and held the position of the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in 1993–2001. The core of this artistic partnership was the complete edition of Eduard Tubin’s symphonies (Alba Records) that was awarded the Estonia State Cultural Award (2002). In 1994–2005 he was the Chief Conductor of the Oulu City Orchestra (the current Oulu Sinfonia) and in 2004–2012 the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Opera. Since autumn 2019, he is again the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Opera. Together with the Oulu City Orchestra he recorded Leevi Madetoja’s complete orchestral works (Alba Records) and Cyrillus Kreek’s “Requiem” together with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Estonian National Opera and the Ellerhein Girls’Choir. The highlight of his work with the Estonian National Opera is the mounting of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s opera “Wallenberg” on the EstNO stage that brought the team and the composer the Annual Estonian Theatre Award (2007). A DVD was recorded the following year. The performing of Wagner’s operas “Tristan und Isolde” and “Parsifal” were acknowledged with the Annual Estonian Theatre Award (2008) and the Estonia State Cultural Award (2011). In addition, Arvo Volmer received the 4th class Order of the White Star in 2002 and the Estonian Music Council Interpretation Prize (2021). In 2004–2013, Arvo Volmer was the Music Director and the Chief Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and since 2013 he is the orchestra’s Chief Guest Conductor and Artistic Counsellor. This prolific period is lined by the complete recording of Sibelius’ symphonies (ABC Classics) as well as the performing of all symphonies by Mahler.
In 2024–2020 Arvo Volmer was the Chief Conductor of the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento. In addition to all bigger Finnish and Scandinavian orchestras, he has regularly performed with the BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra (also on tour in South-America), Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo among others. He has also worked with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Symphony Orchestra and been a member of the faculty.
Arvo Volmer studied at the Tallinn State Conservatory (the current Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) with Professor Olev Oja and Professor Roman Matsov (1980–1985) and at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory with Professor Ravil Martynov (1985–1990). He participated in the master classes of Helmuth Rilling in the U.S.