A local orthopedic surgeon took the stage Tuesday night to perform his piano compositions and talk about how a bolt of lightning changed his life.
In ``Notes from an `Accidental' Pianist (and Composer)," Dr. Anthony Cicoria made his public debut at the State University College at Oneonta.
He appeared as part of the Hewitt Pantaleoni Memorial Concert Series. The series, in its 11th season, presents concerts of jazz, oriental, contemporary and other non-mainstream genres. Carleton Clay, retired SUCO music professor and series organizer, said Cicoria's musical experiences and abilities fit into the series.
Crews from KulturZeit in Germany, the British Broadcasting Corp. and Granada were filming Tuesday, Clay said. In August 1994, Cicoria, of Oneonta, was struck by lightning. The story of his near-death experience has been told by Dr. Oliver Sacks in The New Yorker magazine and his book ``Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.''
On Tuesday, three film crews were recording for future television programs.
Dominique Gradenwitz, filming for a KulturZeit program in Germany, said the documentary would put into images the facts surrounding cases presented in Sacks' book.
``Tony is one of the interesting cases,'' Gradenwitz said.
The program may be ready for broadcast to audiences in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the spring, Gradenwitz said, when Sacks' book is available in translation.
The crew from the BBC was to leave after the concert for a drive to New York City, where they had an appointment with Sacks at his office, director Louise Lockwood said.
The BBC documentary also is illustrating cases reported by Sacks, Lockwood said, and Cicoria's case is fascinating. The documentary may be aired in the spring. Lockwood said Cicoria is talented and is philosophical about his experience.
``It's refreshing to see,'' she said.
Cicoria performed to a capacity crowd in the 500-seat Goodrich Theater, and Clay said the audience included about 100 SUCO students. Clay said there had been about 800 requests for the 500 seats in the theater, and callers were also told about Monday's concert. Another full house is expected, though tickets are available for the 7:30 p.m. Monday concert by calling 436-3100, he said.
Concert-goers usually don't have to make reservations for concerts in the Pantaleoni series.
Cicoria played Fantasia, Op. 1 ``The Lightning Sonata,'' Rhapsody in D minor, Op. 3, dedicated to the memory of Dr. John Lusins, and Nocturne, Op 2.
Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon, is chief of the medical staff at Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich. He also is a clinical assistant professor of orthopedics at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
The audience included Cicoria's family, friends, colleagues and patients, including two women who awaited the concert's start.
``It's quite remarkable that he had this experience and now can compose,'' said Ann Slocum, of Oneonta, a retired medical librarian who plays the organ.
``He's a wonderful person, and I wanted to hear his music,'' said Carol Uhlig, of Oneonta, who has been Cicoria's patient for more than 15 years.
The audience heartily applauded after each of Cicoria's pieces, and under Clay's direction, it also sang ``Happy Birthday'' to him. He turned 56 on Tuesday, Clay said.
Cicoria prompted laughter from the audience when he revealed he hadn't listened to his mother when she told him, ``Don't talk on a phone in a lightning storm.''
``Ironically,'' he said, ``I was trying to call my mother.''