The Person

Estonian conductor Arvo Volmer is widely acclaimed for his powerful performances in both opera and concert. Particularly well-known are his interpretations of Mahler and Sibelius, German, Nordic and Russian composers and contemporary music.


Arvo Volmer studied choral and orchestral conducting from 1980 to 1985 at the Tallinn State Conservatoire with Olev Oja and Roman Matsov. He continued his studies at the Leningrad Conservatoire with Ravil Martynov and graduated in 1990. In addition, he has participated in Helmuth Rilling’s master courses in US. In 1989 he won the special prize and the 4th place at the International Nikolay Malko Conductors Competition.

Volmer made his professional debut with the Estonian National Opera at the age of 22 and has been associated with the company ever since.
He became Associate Conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 1989 and Music Director from 1993 until 2001.

Volmer was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Finland’s Oulu Symphony Orchestra between 1994 and 2005.

2004 – 2013

In 2004, Arvo Volmer became Artistic Director and Chief Conductor at the Estonian National Opera as well as Music Director of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – a position he held until the end of 2013.

During his times the MD Volmer led the ASO on tour to Los Angeles and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Other outstanding projects include the highly acclaimed, five-year long Mahler Cycle and Schumann and Sibelius Festivals. From 2013 until 2015 he was the Principal Guest Conductor of the ASO. His commitment to the Orchestra continues into upcoming seasons.

As the artistic Director of the Estonian National Opera the major milestones were the first Estonian productions of Tristan and Isolde and Parsifal, the production and DVD recording of Erkki-Sven Tuur’s Wallenberg.

Principal conductor of the Estonian National Opera and The Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trentino

Music Director of the Orchestra Haydn since 2014/15 season, Volmer led the Orchestra in substantial tours to Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 2015, Südtiroler Festspiele Toblach in 2014 and 2015 and will take the HOBT to Tiroler Festspiele Erl in 2016.

Volmer was appointed as the new Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Opera in August 2019.

Other current highlights include Volmer’s debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and return visits to the Orchestre National de Belgique and the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, debut with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.


Arvo Volmer has appeared at many important theatres and opera houses and performed with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra, Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov”,  St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra OSESP.

He has led all important orchestras in Australia, including the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. Also The Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and Macau Philharmonic Orchestra.

He has conducted the Orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, NDR Radiophilharmonie, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg – on tour in South America – and most of Scandinavia’s major ensembles including the Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras.

As an opera conductor, Volmer has performed at the Bolshoi Theatre, Finnish National Opera, Norwegian Opera, Malmö Musik Theatre, Deutsche Nationaltheatre Mannheim and regularly with Opera Australia in the Sydney Opera House.


Throughout his career, Arvo Volmer has made an extensive number of recordings, including the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius for ABC (recorded following a cycle with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra) and the symphonic works of Eduard Tubin.

He has also recorded the complete works of Leevi Madetoja and works by Swedish and Estonian contemporary composers.


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  • Haydn Orchestre – Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition Grande Finale Bolzano
  • Porto Symphony Orchestra Casa da Música/Viviane Hagner – Sibelius Porto, Casa da Música, Sala Suggia
  • Estonian National Opera – Roméo et Juliette Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonian National Opera – Roméo et Juliette Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonian National Opera Orchestra/Mari Poll-Novakovic – Ravel, Mozart, Sibelius Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonia National Opera – Tosca Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonian National Opera – Roméo et Juliette Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonian National Opera – Tosca Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Estonian National Opera – Don Pasquale Tallinn, Estonian National Opera
  • Haydn Orchestra – Saint-Saëns, Schubert Trento, Auditorium di Trento


Sabine Frank
tel +49 (0)89 6797 10455