Born and raised in Cork, Ireland, Cian began playing piano at the age of five. He progressed quickly, winning several piano competitions as a young teenager and at the age of sixteen began studying with Jan Cap at the Cork School of Music. Around this time he developed a love of Jazz and in 2002 was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While at Berklee Cian quickly became a sought-after pianist and keyboardist performing on many recording sessions and live performances. He studied conducting with George Monseur and composition with Greg Hopkins, Vuk Kulenovic and Yakov Gubanov. In 2007, Cian graduated with a degree in Composition and Performance and was given the Jazz Piano Award. 

At just 23, after relocating to New York City, Cian began conducting the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical In The Heights and since then has conducted and/or performed for such shows as Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Frozen and Miss Saigon. In 2012, he played keyboards for the world premiere of the score to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton at Lincoln Center and that same year he was nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Direction of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (music by the Scissor Sisters and direction by Jason Moore), now a Netflix mini-series. From 2012 - 2016 he served as Music Director of Broadway's The Book of Mormon and has traveled to London's West End and Sydney, Australia to musically supervise the mounting of the award-winning production in both countries.


Most recently, Cian has worked regularly as a composer, arranger and orchestrator contributing to several productions in development including RKO Production’s Zombies on Broadway, A Little More Alive at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Invisible Thread at New York’s Second Stage Theatre (directed by Tony Winner Diane Paulus) and Burn All Night at American Repertory Theater, Boston. In 2016, Cian composed an original score for Blue Seraph Productions' Something Like Summer, a feature film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jay Bell. 


Cian has performed and worked with Idina Menzel, Gavin Creel, Jane Monheit and Marc Broussard among many others. He has performed at some of New York’s top venues including Jazz@Lincoln Center, The Blue Note and Webster Hall and conducted at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center. In Ireland, he has appeared at the National Concert Hall and Cork's Guinness Jazz Festival. He has performed on many commercial recording sessions including several episodes of PBS’ Sesame Street.


At the current time, Cian is orchestrating the new musical Lempicka by Carson Kreitzer with an original score by Matt Gould - starring Eden Espinosa and led by TONY Award-winning director, Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown, Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) - and is serving as the Music Director for the eagerly anticipated stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! (direction by Alex Timbers) due to open on Broadway this Summer. 

© 2019 by CIAN MCCARTHY.