Who we are ?

When we started in 1993, there were twelve of us, the only handbell ringers not only in Estonia but in the entire Baltic region and Scandinavia. Today, we have two handbell schools and several concert ensembles in Tallinn and Tartu city.

We have given over 1300 concerts, recorded 13 albums, and toured all over the world – in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, the United States, Russia, Canada, China, Lebanon, Slovakia, Israel, and Malta. We have participated in numerous festivals (Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in Canada, LuostoClassic in Finland, Probaltica in Poland, MustonenFest in Israel, etc) and various music competitions. In 2016 at the International Youth Music competition-festival held in Bratislava, Arsis won the highest prize – Grand Prix, the ensemble was also awarded with the golden diploma and Aivar Mäe received a special prize for conducting.

The 10-12 member ensembles of Arsis have emerged from the Arsis handbell schools, where students who have completed primary and advanced training can apply for positions in Arsis concert ensembles if there are available spots.

Tallinn concert ensembles are conducted by Aivar Mäe, and Tartu concert ensembles are led by Mari Tooming.

Aivar Mäe – artistic director of the Arsis Handbell Ensemble

Aivar Mäe is the founder of the Arsis handbell ensemble handbell school.

He studied the clarinet at the Tallinn Secondary Music School and music pedagogy at the Tallinn State Conservatory. He has further educated himself on conducting and music management in 1992 at the Portland University in the USA.

He has been the leader of international choir festivals, also running seminars for choral and handbell music in the USA and Finland. In 2000–2009 he was the general manager of Eesti Kontsert, the national concert institute of Estonia. From 2003 until 2006 he was also the general manager of Theatre Vanemuine in Tartu and in 2007–2008 he was the chairman of the Council of Russian Theater. From 2009 until 2020 he was working as a general manager of Estonian National Opera. In 2023 he became a general manager of Vanemuine Theatre.

Aivar Mäe has received the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (1997, 1998, 2002), the Fifth Class of the Order of the White Star (2003) and in 2012 he was awarded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Culture Award for heralding Estonia abroad.