Mad About Music—Dr. Thomas Sculco

WNYC—January 6, 2008

When Dr. Thomas Sculco, one of the foremost orthopedic surgeons, first met his new patient, Vladimir Horowitz, his concern, he tells host Gilbert Kaplan, was to avoid crushing the legendary pianist’s fingers when they shook hands. Sculco, the chief surgeon and the head of the acclaimed Hospital for Special Surgery, once considered a possible career in music.

His father was the lead trumpet during the Big Band era with Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman but flunked his son in trumpet lessons. But music still dominates his life today. He is the maestro of the operating room, often having to convince colleagues to play Bruckner instead of Jimmy Buffet as background music during operations. He and his wife can often be found at either a concert or opera twice a week. Beyond Bruckner, his favorite composers include Mozart (whose 40th Symphony introduced him to classical music) and Wagner (Sculco regards the love duet at the end of Siegfried as “perhaps the most moving ever written”).

Read the full interview and listen to the concert at


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