Aivar Mäe, General Manager
Aivar Mäe studied the clarinet at the Tallinn Secondary Music School from 1976–1979 (Enno Mattisen’s class) and music pedagogy at the Tallinn State Conservatory from 1979–1985 (Ants Sööt’s class). He has further educated himself on conducting and music management in 1991 at the Portland University in the USA (tutor Bruce Browne). 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 in 1993–1998 and the General Manager since 1999 and in 2003–2006 also the General Manager of Vanemuine. He has been in charge of the renovation of the concert halls of Estonia (1997) and Vanemuine (1998) and Jõhvi Concert Hall (2005) as well as the establishment of the Pärnu Concert Hall (2002). 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 in 2002 for diversifying Pärnu 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 1990 he established the chamber choir “Arsis” (active until 1997), in 1993 an eponymous handbell ensemble and in 1996 a children’s hand-bell ensemble, and he is the conductor and artistic director of the groups of “Arsis”. He has won prizes at international competitions with the chamber choir, including in Tours (France, 1991), in Arezzo (Italy, 1992), in Llangullen (Wales 1994) and the third prize in Eisteddfod (Republic of South Africa, 1997) and in Cantonigròs (Catalonia, 1994), the first place in Cork (Ireland, 1996) and in the folk song category in Eisteddfod (1997). At the latter competition he also won the first prize with the handbell ensemble. He has conducted magna opera including “Christmas Cantata” by Honegger and Pinham, Requiem by Rutter and Fauré , Mass by Poulenc and Martin, oratory Judas Maccabaeus by Händel and Handbell Symphony by Peeter Vähi. With his group he has performed in several foreign countries, including in the USA on seven occasions between 1991–2002, several times in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Finland, etc. He has recorded 4 CDs: “Arsis“ (1994, with the chamber choir), “In Dies” (2000) and “Awake, My Heart” (2003, both with the handbell ensemble), “Lõbus kellamäng” (2000, with the children’s handbell ensemble). He conducted the mixed choir “Olevine” in 1984–90.
• Date of birth: May 12, 1960
• Marital status: married, three children
• 1979–1985 Tallinn State Conservatory, music pedagogy
• 1976–1979 Tallinn Secondary Music School, clarinet
• 2009– Estonian National Opera, General Manager
• 2000–2009 Eesti Kontsert, General Manager
• 2004–2006 Vanemuine, General Manager
• 2003–2004 Vanemuine, Assistant General Manager
• 1999–2000 Eesti Kontsert, Assistant General Manager
• 1993–1998 Eesti Kontsert, Deputy General Manager
• 1992–1993 Estonian Music Association, Manager of the Choir Department, Executive Secretary
• 1989–1992 Folk Culture Development Centre, Manager of the Music Department
• 1987–1989 Scientific Methodological Centre of Folklore and Cultural Work, Manager of the Pop Music Sector
• 1985–1987 State Philharmonics, artist
• 1982–1985 Tapa consumers’ cooperative, member of orchestra
• 1982–1982 Scientific Methodological Centre of Folklore and Cultural Work, Senior Educationalist
• Arsis Handbell Ensemble
Keys to success
• We draw upon our experience, the experience teaches us.
• An organization must engage in its main activity.
• Plan your time so that you have time to be everywhere.
Arvo Volmer, Artistic Director
Arvo Volmer is one of the most acclaimed opera and orchestra conductors in Estonia whose career is hemmed by numerous renowned recordings. He made his conducting debut in the 1980s with two of the most important Estonian music ensembles in his career: Estonian National Opera in 1985 and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 1987. His successful participation in the International Nicolai Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen (1989) launched his international career. From 1989 he was engaged by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) and held the position of the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in 1993–2001. The core of this artistic partnership was the complete edition of Eduard Tubin’s symphonies (Alba Records) that was awarded the Estonia State Cultural Award (2002). In 1994–2005 he was the Chief Conductor of the Oulu City Orchestra (the current Oulu Sinfonia). Together with the Oulu City Orchestra he recorded Leevi Madetoja’s complete orchestral works (Alba Records) and Cyrillus Kreek’s “Requiem” together with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Estonian National Opera and the Ellerhein Girls’Choir. The highlight of his work with the Estonian National Opera is the mounting of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s opera “Wallenberg” on the EstNO stage that brought the team and the composer the Annual Estonian Theatre Award (2007). A DVD was recorded the following year. The performing of Wagner’s operas “Tristan und Isolde” and “Parsifal” were acknowledged with the Annual Estonian Theatre Award (2008) and the Estonia State Cultural Award (2011). In addition, Arvo Volmer received the 4th class Order of the White Star in 2002. In 2004–2013, Arvo Volmer was the Music Director and the Chief Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and since 2013 he is the orchestra’s Chief Guest Conductor and Artistic Counsellor. This prolific period is lined by the complete recording of Sibelius’ symphonies (ABC Classics) as well as the performing of all symphonies by Mahler.
Arvo Volmer has been the Chief Conductor of the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento. In addition to all bigger Finnish and Scandinavian orchestras, he has regularly performed with the BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra (also on tour in South-America), Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo among others. He has also worked with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Symphony Orchestra and been a member of the faculty. As an opera conductor, he regularly cooperates with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and with the Sydney Opera House. Arvo Volmer studied at the Tallinn State Conservatory (the current Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) with Professor Olev Oja and Professor Roman Matsov (1980–1985) and at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory with Professor Ravil Martynov (1985–1990). He participated in the master classes of Helmuth Rilling in the U.S.