Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
Peter Andrew Kwasniewski (born 22 March 1971) is an American Catholic writer and composer of sacred music. He is a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center in Steubenville, Ohio, and was formerly on the faculty of Wyoming Catholic College. He is also the author of three books about traditional Catholicism: Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis, Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness, and Tradition and Sanity.
Life and career
Kwasniewski was born on 22 March 1971 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He grew up in New Jersey. At the Delbarton School in Morristown, he received his first serious tutelage in music. After a year at Georgetown University, Kwasniewski matriculated as a freshman at Thomas Aquinas College in California, where he earned a B.A. in liberal arts in 1994. He subsequently studied at [The Catholic University of America, focusing on ancient Greek philosophy and medieval scholasticism. He received his M.A. in philosophy in 1996, writing a thesis on "The Dialectic of Reason and Faith in Descartes's Meditationes de prima philosophia" and his Ph.D. in the same discipline in 2002, with a dissertation on "The Ecstasy of Love in Thomas Aquinas".
He served as Assistant Professor of Philosophy from 1998 to 2006 at the International Theological Institute in Austria (then in the town of Gaming) and as an adjunct instructor in music appreciation at the Franciscan University of Steubenville's Austria Program located on the same campus. In 2006, he joined the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming, where he served as assistant academic dean and director of admissions, and then as choirmaster and Professor of Theology and Philosophy. He also taught music and art history in the college's fine arts curriculum.
At the end of the academic year of 2017–18, Kwasniewski left Wyoming Catholic College. He accepted the position of senior fellow at the St. Paul Center in Steubenville, Ohio, and is currently working as an independent writer, editor, publisher, and guest lecturer, giving talks and workshops on the traditional liturgy of the Catholic Church.
Kwasniewski is a board member and scholar of the Aquinas Institute in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which is publishing the Opera Omnia of St. Thomas Aquinas. He is also a fellow of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies.
He is rumored to be planning to return to Wyoming Catholic College at some point in the near future.
In addition to being a teacher and writer, Kwasniewski has enjoyed a parallel career as a choirmaster, cantor, and composer of about 150 works of music.
After studying composition and conducting with Roy Horton and voice with Carol Horton at Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey, Kwasniewski became assistant choir director at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California (1990–1994). He served as director of the Schola Cantorum at Old St. John's Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland (1994–1998), director of music at the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria (1999–2006), and founding choirmaster and schola director at Wyoming Catholic College (2007–2018).
Kwasniewski's Mass settings, motets, hymns, carols, antiphons, and acclamations have received numerous performances from 1990 to the present. His Mass settings include Missa Spiritus Domini (1994), Missa Spe Salvi (1995, rev. 2012), Missa Brevis à 3 (1997), Missa Hereditas Mihi à 3 (2016), and Missa Honorificentia Populi Nostri (2017). His Seven Mandatum Antiphons (2010) were dedicated to Arvo Pärt on the occasion of his 75th birthday; the maestro personally accepted the dedication. Many of these works can be found in his book Sacred Choral Works, which was highly acclaimed when it first appeared in 2014. Ensembles that have performed Kwasniewski's choral music include the Ecclesia Choir (dir. Timothy Woods), the Vittoria Ensemble (dir. Rick Wheeler), the Scottish ensemble Cantiones Sacrae (dir. Graeme Adamson), and Cantus Magnus (dir. Matthew Schellhorn).
Kwasniewski has also written a three-movement wind quintet Fire and Flame, premiered by the Antero Winds in 2012; an Ave Maria for SATB, winds, and strings; a violin sonata; organ accompaniments for English plainchant; and pieces for brass quartet and string quartet.
He has published numerous articles on music, especially on the recovery and renewal of sacred music in the contemporary church.
- Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass. Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2020.
- And Rightly So—Selected Letters and Articles of Neil McCaffrey. Edited with a preface by Peter A. Kwasniewski. Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 2019.
- Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual. Edited with a preface by Peter A. Kwasniewski. N.p.: Lulu, 2019.
- Tradition and Sanity. Conversations and Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile. Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2018.
- A Reader in Catholic Social Teaching: From Syllabus Errorum to Deus Caritas Est. Edited, annotated, and with a Preface by Peter Kwasniewski. Tacoma, WA: Cluny Media, 2017.
- Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages. Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2017.
- Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church. Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2015.
- On Love and Charity: Readings from the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. [A translation of texts from St. Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the Sentences, containing Book I, Distinction 17, in both the Parisian and the Roman versions; Book III, Distinctions 27 to 32; and selected articles from all four Books.] Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2008.
- Wisdom’s Apprentice. Thomistic Essays in Honor of Lawrence Dewan, O.P. Edited and introduced by Peter A. Kwasniewski. [A Festschrift of twelve essays with biography and bibliography of the honoree.] Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007.
Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis has been published in Czech, Polish, German, Portuguese, Belarusian, and Spanish editions:
Kwasniewski writes for a number of tradition-friendly or traditionalist magazines and weblogs, including The Latin Mass magazine (since 2006), New Liturgical Movement (weekly since 2013), Rorate Caeli (since 2014), OnePeterFive (since 2014), LifeSite News (since 2017), The Remnant (since 2019), and Catholic Family News (also since 2019). Including academic publications as well as popular writing, he has published over 1,200 articles on Thomistic thought, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the church.
- Personal website: