Arie van Beek was born in Rotterdam. He studied percussion instruments and worked first as a percussionnist at the radio orchestras of the Nederlandse Omroep Stiching. He then turned to conducting. His teachers were Edo de Waart and David Porcelijn.
From 1994 through 2010 Arie van Beek was the chief conductor in residence of the Orchestre d'Auvergne in France. He has been since 2011 chief conductor of the Orchestre de Picardie and will be also from September 2013 on chief conductor in residence of the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève. He is permanent conductor of the Doelen Ensemble in Rotterdam and collaborates with Codarts, the Rotterdam Music Conservatory, where he is in charge with special projects as well as with the planning for orchestras and ensembles.