Aivar Mäe was born on May 12, 1960 in Pärnu, and studied at the Lydia Koidula Secondary School No. 2 in Pärnu (1967–1976), the clarinet at the Tallinn Secondary Music School (1976–1979) and music pedagogy at the Tallinn State Conservatory (1979–1985). He has further educated himself on conducting and music management in 1991 at the Portland University in the U.S. In 1978–1979, he played in the Pärnu Orchestra and in 1982–1985 in Tapa Orchestra, and has worked as a senior educationalist at the Scientific Methodological Centre of Folklore and Cultural Work in 1982 and in 1987–1989 as the director of the pop music sector, in 1985–1987 as the soloist of the State Philharmonic Ensemble “Vitamiin” of the ESSR.
In 1989–1992, Aivar Mäe worked as the manager of the music department at the Folk Culture Development Centre. He has been the Deputy Manager of Eesti Kontsert (1993–1998) and the General Manager (1999–2008) and the General Manager of Vanemuine Theatre (2003–2006).
In 2007–2008 he was the Chairman of the Russian Theatre Council. He is the General Manager of the Estonian National Opera since 2009. He is the member of the Paide Culture Center since 2010 and the member of the Estonian Association of Performing Arts Institution since 2012.
He has been in charge of the renovation of the Estonia Concert Hall (1997) and Vanemuine Concert House (1998) as well as the establishment of the Pärnu and Jõhvi Concert Houses (2002 and 2005 respectively). He has lead the renovation of the house of Gustav Ernesaks (2008–2009) and St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg (2003–2011). Aivar Mäe has received the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (1997, 1998, 2002), Man of the Year title in Pärnu (2002) for diversifying the city’s cultural life and creating new possibilities, the Fifth Class of the Order of the White Star (2003), medal of the city of Tartu (2006) and the title of a real estate guru (2006). In 2010 he received the Kaarel Sahk Award for renovating the big house of Vanemuine Theatre and in 2012 he was awarded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Culture Award for heralding Estonia abroad. In 2013 he received the “Baltic Star” award for the development and strengthening of humanitarian links between the countries of the Baltic region. On the 12th anniversary of the Pärnu Concert house in 2014, Aivar Mäe received the Pärnu City Service Award for the founding and establishing of the Pärnu Concert House. In the same year he received the Cross of the Order for Merits (3rd Class) to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In 1990 he established the chamber choir Arsis (active until 1997), in 1993 an eponymous hand-bell ensemble and in1996 achildren’s hand-bell ensemble, and he is the conductor and artistic director of the groups of Arsis.