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Image by Nick Scheerbart

Guest Speaker: Anthony Cicoria, MD

July 9, 2011

Doctor, struck by lightning, has NDE and comes back as a pianist and composer.

Tony Cicoria, a full time practicing board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon,
is Chief of Orthopedics at Chenango Memorial Hospital, Norwich, New
York, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedics at SUNY Upstate
Medical School, in Syracuse. He received his BS in Biology from The
Citadel and is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina
(MD, PhD) and the University of Virginia Orthopedic Surgery Residency.
He lives in Oneonta, New York and has three children in college.

Dr. Cicoria’s musical career began rather remarkably when he was struck
by lightning in 1994 while speaking on a public telephone during a
family reunion near Albany, N.Y. He was resuscitated by a nurse waiting
to use the phone. Shortly thereafter, music started coming to him …first
in a dream, some of which ultimately contributed to the original
compositions featured in his programs and on CD. Dr. Cicoria self-taught
from 1995-1997 before starting formal music instruction with Sandra
(Campbell) McKane in 1998.

As a result of his unusual introduction to the world of music, Dr.
Cicoria was featured in the New Yorker Magazine article A Bolt from the
Blue, by Oliver Sacks MD, as well as in Dr. Sacks’ book Musicophilia:
Tales of Music and the Brain.

Tony has given mini-recitals at the Sonata Adult Music Camp, in
Bennington, Vermont, under the direction of Polly Van der Linde, where
he has played Chopin’s Military Polonaise, op. 40 (in 2002), Chopin’s
Fantasie Impromptu (in 2003), Brahms’ Rhapsody, op. 79, no. 2 (in 2005),
Chopin’s Scherzo in B flat Minor, op. 31 (in 2006) and an early version
of his own Lightning Sonata in 2007.

January 29, 2008 marked a significant milestone in Dr. Cicoria’s musical
career…his public debut at the Goodrich Theater in Oneonta, New York,
presented by the Catskill Conservatory in association with the SUNY at
Oneonta, assisted by a grant from the NYS Council on the Arts.

His performance was recorded live by the BBC-1, Granada Media UK, and
German National Television. Besides The New Yorker Magazine, he has been
profiled in numerous magazines including, Vital Signs, The Week,
Financial Times UK, Superconsciousness Magazine, and has had television
presentations on Canada’s The Hour, BBC-1’s documentary Imagine, Granada
Media’s documentary My Strange Brain, WSKG Expressions, Quarks and
Company German Television, PBS’s NOVA: Musical Minds, and The Musical
Instinct, SupremeMaster TV, The Discovery Channel, ITTV, and other soon
to be released interviews.

Tony recently released his original works in his first CD entitled,
“Notes from an Accidental Pianist” through He is also
working on several other solo piano pieces, a 4-hand/2-piano piece, a
symphony based on Brahms\' Variation, op. 9, a concerto, and is also
writing a book detailing the origin of his musical experience.

Tony’s teacher and mentor, Sandra (Campbell) McKane, began piano
instruction at age eight with renowned pianists Gaby, Jean and Robert
Casadesus, who became primary influences in her formative years. Their
tutelage began in the United States and continued in France, where Sandy
spent several summers studying with them, both at Fontainebleau Academy,
near Paris, and the Ravel Academy, in Ciboure, France.

At age 15, Sandy began instruction with Sasha Gorodnitzki and earned her
bachelors and masters degrees in music at the Juilliard School. In
addition, she taught ear-training in the Juilliard Pre-College Division
for 10 years.

In 1988, she joined the music department faculty at Hartwick College and
chaired the department from 2002-06. She has been offering private
instruction to students of all levels for over twenty years. Her primary
teaching focus has been the development of musical literacy.

Inspired by the outcome of Charlotte’s Circle, a parent-child service
learning model, Sandy has most recently directed her creative energies
toward the development of a K-12 service learning model, working with
community-based organizations and teachers in the Oneonta City School

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