A resident of Fall River, Massachusetts, Paul Cienniwa leads an active musical life in southeastern Massachusetts and the Boston/Providence regions as an organist, harpsichordist, and conductor. He is director of music at First Church in Boston, where he plays the three-manual Casavant organ (Op. 3140), the single-manual Casavant (Op. 3129), and leads the professional First Church Choir for weekly broadcasts on WERS (88.9 FM) Boston. In recent years, he has been featured organ soloist at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Busch Hall at Harvard, and MIT Chapel.
As a harpsichordist, he has been cited by the Huffington Post for his “inner sense of creative flow, fueled by an abundance of musical imagination and desire.” An active choral director, he is Chorus Master of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and directs the chorus at Framingham State University. From 2003-2010, he led Newport Baroque in works from Arne to Zelenka, including performances of Bach cantatas and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, and from 2006-2013, he led Sine Nomine choral ensemble. In 2009, he was music director for Boston Opera Collaborative's acclaimed production of Handel's Alcina.
For his CD of the Bach Viola da Gamba Sonatas with cellist Audrey Sabattier-Cienniwa (Whaling City Sound), KBAQ radio (Phoenix, AZ) called his ability to accompany "spot-on...perfect". His recording with Grammy Award-winning uilleann piper Jerry O'Sullivan was called "drop-dead gorgeous" and named one of the top ten Irish traditional albums of 2010 by The Irish Echo. An advocate of new music, he is featured on a two-CD set of music by composer Larry Thomas Bell titled “In a Garden of Dreamers” (Albany Records).
He been awarded Belgian American Educational Foundation and Fulbright grants, and his musicological articles and reviews have appeared in American and European journals, including Early Music, Ad Parnassum and Early Music America. As an educator, he has taught at the Yale University School of Music, Salve Regina University, and Mount Ida College. He continues to teach at UMass-Dartmouth and Framingham State University.
Paul Cienniwa started his undergraduate studies as a pianist in the studio of Michael Ruiz at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After completing his bachelor’s degree at DePaul University with harpsichordist Roger Goodman and organist Jerome Butera, he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in harpsichord from Yale University, where he was a student of Richard Rephann. He has also studied harpsichord with Peter Watchorn, John Whitelaw, and David Schrader.
Paul Cienniwa is represented by Concert Artist Cooperative.