Dr.h.c. Arbo Valdma, piano professor at the Cologne University of Music (Germany) from 1992 until 2012, was born in Pärnu, Estonia. He received his musical education at the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn under Bruno Lukk and later at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Nina Emelyanova. Arbo Valdma has performed as a soloist throughout Europe and Australia and with orchestras, as well as chamber music with, among others, Fern Raskovic (violin) and Valter Dešpalj (cello).
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, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Peking, Cologne, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Tokyo, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Seoul, Singapore, Princetown, Vienna, etc. From 2000 till 2007, he has led masterclasses, lectures, interactive sessions, demonstrations and coaching at the World Piano Pedagogy Conferences in Orlando, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Fort Worth.
Arbo Valdma is a founding member of EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) in Yugoslavia in 1988, Honorary President of EPTA Serbia and an Honorary Member of EPTA Estonia.
In 1991, the Estonian Academy of Music awarded him Doctor Honoris Causa. In 2017, the city council of Pärnu (Estonia) named him Honorary Citizen of Pärnu. It is the highest honorary title from the city government and rarely awarded since 1886.
Up to 2010, Arbo Valdma was the artistic director of the International Open Piano Competition Award F. Chopin and F. Liszt in Hong Kong.
Prof. Arbo Valdma’s 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), Épinal, Geneva, Lausanne, Munich, Sydney, Vercelli, Washington and others.