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.


Vello Pähn, Artistic Director

Vello Pähn graduated from Tallinn State Conservatory in 1981, having studied conducting with Roman Matsov and continued his studies at St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1981–1986 with Arvīds and Maris Jansons. In 1982–1984 he was engaged at the Estonian National Opera. Since autumn 2012 he is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Opera. He has conducted numerous operas, including Bizet’s “Carmen”, Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, Verdi’s “La traviata”, Mussorgsky’s “Khovanshchina”, Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore”, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”, Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro”, Wagner’s “Der fliegende Holländer”, Gounod’s “Faust”, etc, and ballets, such as Prokofiev’s “Cinderella”, Neumeier’s “Othello” to the music of Pärt, Schnittke, Vasconcelos et al, and “Die Kameliendame” to the music of Chopin, Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, etc. Since 1988 he has conducted at Opera National de Paris, since 1992 at Hamburg State Opera, since 1999 at Dresden Semperoper and since 2000 at Staatsoper Berlin and has worked with the legendary dancers and choreographers Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier and Maurice Bejart, etc. In addition to the aforementioned, he has been a guest conductor at Staatstheater Stuttgart, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, Wiener Staatsoper, Gothenburg Opera, Leipzig Opera, Dresden Semperoper and many others. Vello Pähn has conducted various orchestras in Italy, France, Russia, Japan, USA, Greece, Sweden, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Spain, etc. At the Estonian National Opera, Vello Pähn has been the music director for the following operas and ballets: Gounod’s “Faust” (2012), Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” (2012, concert performance) and “Arabella” (2015, first time in Estonia, concert performance ), Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” (2013), Tõnu Kõrvits’ “Butterfly” (2013, world premiere), Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” (2013, concert performance), Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Snegurochka” (2014, first time in Estonia, concert performance), Gianluca Schiavoni’s “Medea” (2014, world premiere), Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” (2014), John Cranko’s “Onegin” (2015, first time in Estonia), Hindemith’s Cardillac” (2015, first time in Estonia), Tubin’s “The Goblin” (2015), Verdi’s “Aida” (2016). Vello Pähn is the winner of the Annual Estonian Theatre Award 2016 for the interpretation of Hindemith’s “Cardillac” and Strauss’ “Arabella” on a high artistic level and the Estonian Music Council Interpretation Prize 2016.


Coming soon