Dr.Tony Cicoria is an orthopedic surgeon living in New York State who 'died' one sunny day in 1994. He was a child of the sixties and was a great fan of the rock group Led Zeppelin. He was never interested in any other kind of music, especially classical music. But after that day in 1994 he became obsessed with classical music to the extent that he is now a classical composer and pianist.
But to get to that experience we need to go back to the day Tony was attending a family picnic in a pavilion in NY state. He went to make a phone call at a telephone box and remembers seeing lightning coming toward him and hitting him on the mouth. Then nothing. He felt himself lurch backward and then forward; felt himself surrounded by a bluish-white light and saw his mother-in-law run past him without saying anything.
Tony Cicoria then came to the realization that he had died, and he was filled with a remarkable feeling of peace and warmth. His mind was trying to make sense of what had happened, and he could feel speed. He saw his life unfold before him and he wished to go where he seemed to be headed...although he did not know where that was.
A woman in the crowd that had gathered around him began to administer CPR which he did not want. He screamed to her to stop, but he soon found himself back in a body that was in terrible pain and he did not want to be resuscitated. After a while they were able to get him into a sitting position and insisted that he go to a hospital. Tony refused, feeling that lightning either killed you or you were still alive. In great pain, he gave them permission to take him home.
After being seen by his physician, Tony began to hear classical music in his head and thus began an incredible desire to hear all the classical music he could. Fourteen years later he appeared in public as composer-pianist.
A man with a formidable scientific education...a BS in Biology from The Citadel: a scholarship in developmental biology at the Woods Hole Laboratory in Massachusetts; a PhD in physiology and cellular biophysics from the Medical University of South Carolina and a degree in medicine from the same university, Tony knows that this experience was real and not some kind of figment of an overactive imagination.
Tony Cicoria is still playing (2009) and giving recitals of his compositions, one of which was inspired by a trip on the transcontinental train in Canada. Other memories of Canada include that of seeing the black, fertile earth near Edmonton, and the moose running along by the train. He also visits Ontario whenever he has the chance.
Asked the question ,"Are you afraid to die," he quickly answers, "Not when I have experienced the most wonderful feeling imaginable."