Tony Cicoria

Tony Cicoria is PianoDoc and ComposerDoc

Anthony Cicoria, MD (born 1952) is a doctor specializing in orthopedic medicine, orthopedic surgery, orthotics, prosthetic supplies, and sports medicine. He is best known for acquiring an unusual affinity for music after being struck by lightning. He was profiled in neurologist Oliver Sacks‘ book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (2007).


Tony participated in a PianoMusicDocs master-class in Vienna with Wolfgang Ellenberger and played his lightning-sonata in the Vienna Mozart house (movie on top).

He is president of the NDA Near-Death-Association.

Struck by lightning

In 1994, when Tony Cicoria was 42 years old, he was struck by lightning near Albany, New York, while standing next to a public telephone. He had just hung up the phone and was about a foot away when a rogue bolt of lightning struck. He recalled seeing his own body on the ground surrounded by a bluish-white light. Cicoria’s heart had apparently stopped, but he was resuscitated by a woman, (coincidentally an intensive-care-unit nurse) who was waiting to use the telephone.[2][3]

After the accident

Cicoria suffered burns to his face and left foot where the electrical charge had entered and exited his body.

Several weeks after the accident Cicoria consulted a neurologist because he was having difficulties with his memory and was feeling sluggish. The neurological exam, including an EEG and an MRI, found nothing unusual. After a few weeks his energy returned and he went back to work. Two weeks later, his memory problems disappeared. His life had apparently returned to normal.[4]

Then Cicoria, over a period of two or three days, became struck with an insatiable desire to listen to piano music. He acquired a piano and started to teach himself to play. His head was flooded with music that seemed to come from nowhere. Although, previous to his accident, he had no particular interest in music, within three months of being struck by lightning Cicoria spent nearly all his time playing and composing.[5]

Musical career

Tony Cicoria debuted his first piano composition in Westport, Connecticut, on October 12, 2007.

In 2007, under the direction of Polly van der Linde, Tony has given recitals at the Sonata Adult Piano Camp, in Bennington, Vermont, where he has played Chopin’s Military Polonaise, Op. 40 (in 2002), Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu (in 2003), BrahmsRhapsody, Op. 79, No. 2 (in 2005), Chopin’s Scherzo in B-flat Minor, Op. 31 (in 2006) and an earlier version of his own composition, Lightning Sonata.[6]

January 29, 2008 marked an important milestone in Cicoria’s musical career. He publicly debuted at the Goodrich Theater in Oneonta, New York, presented by the Catskill Conservatory in association with the SUNY at Oneonta. The performance was assisted by a grant from the NYS Council on the Arts. This performance was recorded live by Granada Media UK, BBC One, and German National Television.

Cicoria has appeared in numerous magazines including, The Week, SuperConsciousness Magazine, and Financial Times.

He has appeared in numerous television presentations including: BBC One’s documentary Imagine, Canada’s The Hour, Granada Media’s documentary My Strange Brain, WSKG TV Expressions and the NOVA episode Musical Minds.

Cicoria is also working on several other solo piano pieces, including a 4-hand / 2-piano piece, a symphony based on BrahmsVariation, op. 9, and a concerto.

He is also writing a book detailing the origin of his musical experience.[7]



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