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Anthony Cicoria (born 1952) is an "acquired savant" — someone who exhibits extraordinary abilities after CNS injury or disease, as opposed to a person born with autistic disorder or other developmental disability.He 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).
Cicoria received his BS in Biology from The Citadel and graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina (MD, PhD) and the University of Virginia Orthopedic Surgery Residency.
Cicoria is a practicing orthopedic surgeon, and is Chief of the Medical Staff and Chief of Orthopedics at Chenango Memorial Hospital, Norwich, New York. He is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedics at State University of New York Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse.
In 2004, Cicoria got divorced. During that same year, he had a serious motorcycle accident. Within two months he had completely recovered and returned to work.
At one time he lived in Oneonta, New York and has three children who went to college.
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.
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.
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 before his accident, he had had no particular interest in music, within three months of being struck by lightning Cicoria spent nearly all his time playing and composing.
Tony Cicoria debuted his first piano composition in Westport, Connecticut, on October 12, 2007.
In 2007, under the direction of Polly van der Linde, who runs an international piano camp for adults and children in Old Bennington, Vermont, 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), Brahms’ Rhapsody , 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.
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 is also working on several other solo piano pieces, including a 4-hand / 2-piano piece, a symphony based on Brahms' Variation, op. 9, and a concerto.
He is also writing a book detailing the origin of his musical experience.
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 .
Frédéric François Chopin, born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation."
Robert Schumann was a German composer, pianist, and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. His teacher, Friedrich Wieck, a German pianist, had assured him that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.
Oliver Wolf Sacks, was a neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author. Born in Britain, and mostly educated there, he spent his career in the United States. He believed that the brain is the "most incredible thing in the universe." He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about both his patients' and his own disorders and unusual experiences, with some of his books adapted for plays by major playwrights, feature films, animated short films, opera, dance, fine art, and musical works in the classical genre.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is a 1985 book by neurologist Oliver Sacks describing the case histories of some of his patients. Sacks chose the title of the book from the case study of one of his patients who has visual agnosia, a neurological condition that leaves him unable to recognize faces and objects. The book became the basis of an opera of the same name by Michael Nyman, which premiered in 1986.
Murray David Perahia, KBE is an American pianist and conductor. He is widely considered as one of the greatest living pianists. He was the first North American pianist to win the Leeds International Piano Competition, in 1972. Known as a leading interpreter of Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann, among other composers, Perahia has won numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards from a total of 18 nominations, and 9 Gramophone Awards in addition to its first and only "Piano Award".
Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C♯ minor, Op. posth. 66, is a solo piano composition. It was composed in 1834 and published posthumously in 1855 despite Chopin's instruction that none of his unpublished manuscripts be published. The Fantaisie-Impromptu is one of Chopin's most frequently performed and popular compositions.
Frédéric Chopin wrote a number of preludes for piano solo. His cycle of 24 Preludes, Op. 28, covers all major and minor keys. In addition, Chopin wrote three other preludes: a prelude in C♯ minor, Op. 45; a piece in A♭ major from 1834; and an unfinished piece in E♭ minor. These are sometimes referred to as Nos. 25, 26, and 27, respectively.
Matthew "Matt" Savage is an American autistic savant musician. Born in Sudbury, Massachusetts, he is the son of Diane and Lawrence "Larry" Savage.
The Études by Frédéric Chopin are three sets of études for the piano published during the 1830s. There are twenty-seven compositions overall, comprising two separate collections of twelve, numbered Op. 10 and Op. 25, and a set of three without opus number.
An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales is a 1995 book by neurologist Oliver Sacks consisting of seven medical case histories of individuals with neurological conditions such as autism and Tourette syndrome. An Anthropologist on Mars follows up on many of the themes Sacks explored in his 1985 book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, but here the essays are significantly longer and Sacks has more of an opportunity to discuss each subject with more depth and to explore historical case studies of patients with similar symptoms. In addition, Sacks studies his patients outside the hospital, often traveling considerable distances to interact with his subjects in their own environments. Sacks concludes that "defects, disorders, [and] diseases... can play a paradoxical role, by bringing out latent powers, developments, evolutions, forms of life that might never be seen, or even be imaginable, in their absence".
In 2007 neurologist Oliver Sacks released his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain in which he explores a range of psychological and physiological ailments and their intriguing connections to music. It is broken down into four parts, each with a distinctive theme; part one titled Haunted by Music examines mysterious onsets of musicality and musicophilia. Part two A Range of Musicality looks at musical oddities musical synesthesia. Parts three and four are titled Memory, Movement, and Music and Emotions, Identity, and Music respectively. Each part has between six and eight chapters, each of which is in turn dedicated to a particular case study that fit the overarching theme of the section. Presenting the book in this fashion makes the reading a little disjointed if one is doing so cover to cover, however, it also means one may pick up the book and flip to any chapter for a quick read without losing any context. Four case studies from the book are featured in the NOVA program Musical Minds aired on June 30, 2009.
Concetta Tomaino, is the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF). Tomaino is internationally known for her research in the clinical applications of music and neurologic rehabilitation.
Music has the ability to open doors, which allow us to see beyond a typical conversation or thought process. The artistic attributions that are involved in making and listening to music exist as a reliable source for investigating the unconscious mind. A psychanalysis of how a person experiences music will show how it is able to help people improve their quality of life.
Nick van Bloss is an English classical pianist and author who has Tourette syndrome. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London.
Alan Kogosowski is an Australian classical pianist.
Richard E. Cytowic is an American neurologist and author who rekindled interest in synesthesia in the 1980s and returned it to mainstream science. He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his New York Times Magazine cover story about James Brady, the Presidential Press Secretary shot in the brain during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. Cytowic’s writing ranges from textbooks and music reviews, to his Metro Weekly "Love Doctor" essays and brief medical biographies of Anton Chekhov, Maurice Ravel and Virginia Woolf. His work is the subject of two BBC Horizon documentaries, “Orange Sherbert Kisses” (1994) and “Derek Tastes of Earwax” (2014).
Frédéric Chopin wrote 21 nocturnes for solo piano between 1827 and 1846. They are generally considered among the finest short solo works for the instrument and hold an important place in contemporary concert repertoire. Although Chopin did not invent the nocturne, he popularized and expanded on it, building on the form developed by Irish composer John Field.
Musical Minds is a Nova documentary based on neurologist Oliver Sacks's 2007 book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain about music and the human brain aired on June 30, 2009 on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Frédéric Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra, Op. 2, was written in 1827, when he was aged 17. "Là ci darem la mano" is a duet sung by Don Giovanni and Zerlina in act 1 of Mozart's 1787 opera Don Giovanni. Chopin dedicated his composition to his schoolfriend Tytus Woyciechowski. Chopin's work inspired Robert Schumann's famous exclamation: "Hats off, gentlemen, a genius." The work is often recorded and played in concert. A typical performance lasts from 17 to 19 minutes.
A Leg to Stand On is a 1984 book written by neurologist Oliver Sacks describing his own personal experience with an injury to his leg following a mountaineering accident involving a bull. The book details his transition from doctor to patient.