Paolo Ponziano Ciardi was born in Genova and began his conducting career at an early age. Alongside his classical and humanistic preparation, he also studied pianoforte, composition, organ, orchestral conducting and choral conducting. Contemporaneously he frequented courses at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Milan Horvat and at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena under Franco Ferrara. In 1981 he was the only Italian to win a scholarship offered by the Austrian Government and he perfected his studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna with Otmar Suitner for Orchestral Conducting, Karl
Etti for Opera Conducting and Gunther Theuring for Choral Conducting. He won the 1978 edition of the "European Personality Award" for his work.
As a conductor Ciardi is a regular guest to Symphonic and Choral Associations, Orchestras and important international Concert Societies. Amongst these are: the RAI Orchestra in Turin, Teatro Verdi in Trieste, the Opera Society "G.P. da Palestrina" in Cagliari, Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, the Orchestra "A. Scarlatti" of Neaples, the Opera Theatre “V. Bellini” of Catania, the Opera Theatre of Budapest, the Opera Theatre of Spalato (Croatia), the Filarmonia of Minsk and the Budapest Chamber Orchestra; the National Orchestra of Malta, the Budapest Concert Orchestra, he has collaborated with soloists and singers such as Simon Estes,
Mariella Devia, Istvan Ruha, Ilya Grubert, Felix Ayo, Massimo Quarta, Katia Ricciarelli and Simone Alaimo, winning the enthusiasm of the public and excellent press notices everywhere. Particularily significant were his performances in the Tchaikowsky Hall in Moscow, the Abravanell Hall in Salt Lake City, the Bonn University, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the "Salle des Penitents Blancs" at Avignon, the Auditorium of Mexico City, the Roman Theatre at Cartagine and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Ciardi held the professorship for Orchestral Training at the "Conservatorio Statale di Musica J. Tomadini" in Udine from 1982 to 1986 and at the "Conservatorio Statale di Musica" in Benevento from 1987 until the present day. He is the Artistic Director of the "Accademia Strumentale di Roma" and of the "Istituzione Sinfonica di Benevento e del Sannio".
He was Administrative Adviser to the "Teatro Regio" in Turin from 1992 until 1994, a member of the Central Board of Music in 1996 and at present is a member of the National Committee dealing with problems in Performing Arts, for the Performing Arts Sector of the Prime Minister's Cabinet 1997. In June 1998 Ciardi was decorated with the honorary award of "Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic"
He has recorded for Radiotelevisione Italiana 1, Radiotelevisione Italiana 3, the Vatican Radio, the Magiara Radio & Television, the Bielorussia Radio & Television, the Mexican Radio & Television, the Fox Television U.S.A. and for the recording companies ABC, Agorà and Phoenix Classics.