Valter Despalj was born into a Croatian family of professional musicians. He graduated from the Juilliard School where he studied the cello with Leonard Rose. He also took masterclasses with Pablo Casals, Pierre Fournier and André Navarra, and did a two years graduate study with Galina Kozolupova at the Moscow Conservatory.
As a solist Valter Despalj has performed all over the world at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Sydney Opera House and Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. He is professor at the Zagreb Academy of Music and guest professor at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Conservatory af Amsterdam, and is well known for his unique results as a teacher.
A steady stream of international competition winners have come from his classes in Zagreb. His cello studies and transcriptions have been published by major music publishers, and he is an often used jury member at the most prestigious interational competitions including Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Bach (Leipzig) and ARD (Munich)