Arvo Volmer

Chief Conductor 1993–2001

Arvo Volmer gave his first concert with ENSO at the end of 1987 as a third-year student of conducting at Moscow Conservatoire. The programme included Berlioz’s overture Roman Carnival, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 with Aleksandra Juozapenaite as a soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6. The cooperation proved to be very close from the beginning. In both 1987/88 and 1988/89 seasons he conducted four concerts. From autumn 1990 when Leo Krämer, an organist and conductor from Germany, was designated to the post of the chief conductor, Arvo Volmer prepared more programmes during the season than the chief conductor did. From 1993/94 season Volmer officially became ENSO’s principal conductor.

A leading thread in the cooperation between Volmer and ENSO was performing of Eduard Tubin’s symphonic music and later its recording for Alba Records. He completed a set of five CDs with Tubin’s eleven symphonies and a double CD with the music of the ballet Kratt (Treasure-bringing Goblin). The Estonian première of Mahler’s Symphony No 8 (1996) and the concert performances of Puccini’s opera Turandot (1995) and Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande (1998) also became major events.

Volmer and ENSO have performed the premières of many Estonian musical compositions, including Eino Tamberg’s Symphony No 4 (dedicated to Volmer and ENSO) and Nocturn, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Symphony No 3 and Zeitraum, Mari Vihmand’s Floreo and Lepo Sumera’s Symphony No 6. In 2010 he conducted the first performance in Estonia of Symphony by Olav Roots, ENSO’s first principal conductor.

His most essential performances with ENSO abroad include a concert at Europamusicale festival in Munich where they played Heino Eller’s, Eduard Tubin’s, Arvo Pärt’s and Erkki-Sven Tüür’s works (1993), a concert at Musiksommer festival in Gstaad (1997), extensive concert tours in Germany (1996 and 2000), concerts in Riga and Vilnius (2000) and ENSO’s first concert at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm (2005).

Arvo Volmer (4 November 1962) is one of the most recognized Estonian conductors; he is known and appreciated at several concert stages and opera houses of the world. Volmer has distinguished himself as an outstanding interpreter of Sibelius; he is equally appreciated as a performer of Russian composers’ works and present-day music.

Arvo Volmer studied conducting at Tallinn Conservatoire (the present Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) under Professor Olev Oja and Professor Roman Matsov (1980–1985) and at St Petersburg Conservatoire under Professor Ravil Martynov (1985–1990). He has also attended Helmuth Rilling’s master classes in the United States.

Arvo Volmer began his career as a conductor at the Estonian National Opera in 1985. From 1987 he simultaneously worked with the ENSO, being its principal conductor and artistic director from 1993–2001. He was successful at Nicolai Malko International Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen in 1989, after which he gained international recognition. Arvo Volmer’s activities as a conductor extend over several continents. He has recurrently conducted orchestras like BBC Philharmonic (Manchester), City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraBerlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, symphony orchestras of Sydney and MelbourneFrench National Orchestra, etc.

Arvo Volmer is also a versatile recording artist, which is proved by the great number of recordings of Estonian and foreign music from the past and the present. His most essential recordings are those of all orchestral works by Leevi Madetoja with Oulu Symphony Orchestra (Alba Records, 1998–2000), recordings of all symphonies by Eduard Tubin with ERSO (Alba Records, 1999–2003) for which he received the Cultural Award of the Republic of Estonia, the first recording of Tubin’s ballet Kratt (Alba Records, 2005) with ERSO, and the recording of Cyrillus Kreek’s Requiem with the symphony orchestra and choir of the Estonian National Opera and the girls’ choir Ellerhein (Alba Records, 2007), which was the first recording of its original Estonian-language version written in 1927.

From 2004-2011 Arvo Volmer was the artistic director and principal conductor of the Estonian National Opera, from2004-2013 artistic director and principal conductor of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. From the 2014/15 season Arvo Volmer has been appointed Chief Conductor of the Fondazione Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento – known informally as Orchestra Haydn. In addition, Volmer is active at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Finnish National Opera, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and elsewhere.

Arvo Volmer’s homepage:

CDs of Arvo Volmer and ENSO

Penderecki, Eespere, Bartók. Flute Concertos. Signum 1996.
Beethoven. Violin Concereto and Romances. Globe 1996.
Mozart & Reinecke. Flute Concertos. Woodwinds 1997. Conductors Arvo Volmer & Nikolai Alexeev.
Eduard Tubin. Symphonies Nos 2 & 5. Alba Records 1999.
Eino Tamberg. Orchestral Music. Antes Edition 2000.
Favourite Romantic Piano Concertos. Consonant Works 2000.
Eduard Tubin. Symphonies Nos 3 & 6. Alba Records 2000.
Eduard Tubin. Symphonies Nos 4 & 7. Alba Records 2001.
Eduard Tubin. Symphonies Nos 8 & 1. Alba Records 2002.
Eduard Tubin. Symphonies Nos 9, 10 & 11. Alba Records 2003.
100 Years of Estonian Symphony. Conductors Vello Pähn, Arvo Volmer, Nikolai Alexeev, Peeter Lilje, Neeme Järvi, Paul Mägi, Paavo Järvi, Heino Eller. ERP 2004.
Eduard Tubin. Ballet Kratt. Alba Records 2005.
Ester Mägi. Orchestral Music. Toccata Classics 2007.