Cellist Aare Tammesalu operates mainly as an orchestra and chamber musician, performing classical and contemporary music. Besides, he is an active concert producer and a teacher.
In 1979, Aare Tammesalu graduated as a cellist from the Tallinn Music High School with Laine Leichter and in 1985 from the Tallinn State Conservatory with Ivo Juul and Prof. Toomas Velmet. Later he acquired a Master's degree with Peeter Paemurru at the Estonian Academy of Music. He has enriched his university experiences by taking private lessons from Mihhail Homitser and participating in the master courses of Martin Ostertag. In 1987, Aare Tammesalu won the 2nd prize at the Contest of Estonian String Instrument Players.
In 1979-1984, Aare Tammesalu was a member of the Estonian Radio Chamber Orchestra, in 1991-1996 he worked at the Kotka City Orchestra in Finland and 1997-2007 at the symphony orchestra of the Estonian National Opera. Tammesalu also works as a cello teacher at the Tallinn Old Town Music School. In 2002-2005, Aare Tammesalu was the manager and producer of the State Concert Institute Eesti Kontsert and in 2007-2008 Pärnu Philharmonic Society. He has arranged several music festivals, including Mozart 250, International Music Festival Eduard Tubin and His Time, opeNBaroque, Music of Seven Towns etc. Besides, he has also organized music competitions: Bach Competition in Tallinn in 2000 and Pärnu Violin Competition for young violinists in 2008 and 2010.
Aare Tammesalu is the founding member of the Tobias String Quartet and has also played in different other ensembles, including Reval Ensemble and Resonabilis. He has given recitals in Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Finland and U.S. As a chamber musician he has performed in many European countries and taken part in Estonian music festivals, including festival 'Tubin and his time', NYYD Festival, Glasperlenspiel, Suure-Jaani Music Festival and Tallinn International Organ Festival. As a soloist he has performed with several symphony orchestras, such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Opera Symphony Orchestra, XXI Century Orchestra, Kotka City Orchestra, and Pärnu City Orchestra. He has collaborated with conductors like Jüri Alperten, Peeter Lilje, Paul Mägi, Aivo Välja, Lauri Sirp and Ants Soots.
Tammesalu has been the first performer and introducer of the works by Giovanni Bonato, Märt-Matis Lill, Eino Tamberg, Lepo Sumera, Toivo Tulev, Helena Tulve, Tõnu Kõrvits and Andres Uibo. Tammesalu has participated in the recordings of chamber works by Estonian composers Artur Kapp, Kuldar Sink, Märt-Matis Lill, Age Hirv and Margo Kõlar and was engaged as a performer and organizer for the musical accompaniment for the new performance of the Estonian silent feature film "Noored kotkad" ("Young Eagles", 1927, directed by Theodor Luts). Eino Tamberg has dedicated two of his chamber music pieces to Tammesalu – Dialoges for Violoncello and Piano(2005), Journey with cello and percussion (2007), A Play with Bass Drum (2010) and Bach im Spiegel for organ and cello (2005) by Andres Uibo has been also dedicated to him.
Aare Tammesalu is the grantee of the Estonian Association of Professional Musicians for 2008. In 2012, Aare Tammesalu was awarded the Hendrik Krumm Culture Prize for founding and directing Mustjala Music Festival that takes place since 1995.