Ross Amico

Program Host

Ross Amico is program host, and host of Picture Perfect which airs Fridays at 6 pm and The Lost Chord which airs Sundays at 10 pm.

Ross has been involved in radio broadcasting since 1986.  He spent nearly ten years in community radio, after phoning in to a request show and being told he knew more about classical music than the program director.  During that time, his shows originated from WMUH Allentown (the radio station of Muhlenberg College) and nearby WXLV Schnecksville (at Lehigh-Carbon Community College).  He made his WWFM debut in September of 1995, while in the process of opening an antiquarian book business, Famulus Books, in Philadelphia.  His broadcasts have also been heard on WRTI Philadelphia and WPRB Princeton.

What he finds most enjoyable about his work in radio is putting together interesting programs and sharing music perhaps unfamiliar to his audiences.  It is his philosophy that a skillful juxtaposition of the familiar and the new can set off both to advantage.  His pre-produced shows, Picture Perfect and The Lost Chord, allow him to explore the world of film music and seldom-heard composers and recordings.  His music articles, which appear every Friday in the Times of Trenton, celebrate the local and regional arts scene.

Interview subjects have included Leon Bates, Stephanie Blythe, Cameron Carpenter, Barry Douglas, JoAnn Falletta, Leon Fleisher, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Lyndon-Gee, Kirill Gerstein, Philippe Graffin, Marc-André Hamelin, Sharon Isbin, Leila Josefowicz, Awadagin Pratt, Lara St. John, Peter Schickele, Orli Shaham, Caroline Shaw, Chris Thile, Dawn Upshaw, Pinchas Zukerman, and Christopher Walken.

Always passionate about classical music, Ross began record collecting at the age of 10.  He has also had a lifelong interest in classic film.  He credits his fascination with film with having led him to the symphony orchestra.  Follow his activities and enthusiasms on his Facebook page, Classic Ross Amico.

Ways to Connect

The Arabian Nights, traditional folk stories from the Orient, have come to us filtered through the sensibilities of Western translators.  Further translation was required to get the stories from page to screen, so it’s hardly surprising to find Sinbad, for instance, fighting a giant walrus.  Tune in for an hour of movie enchantments, with music from “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” (Bernard Herrmann), “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” (Roy Budd), “Aladdin” (Alan Menken), and “The Thief of Bagdad” (Miklós Rózsa).  Discover an Aladdin’s Cave of cinematic delights, this Friday at 6 pm.

“Children of the night – what beautiful music they make!”  So says Hungarian superstar Bela Lugosi in his signature role of Dracula.  Tune in for an hour of nocturnal meditations by some of Lugosi’s musical compatriots, including the “Hungarian Nocturne” by Miklós Rózsa, “Night Music” by Antal Doráti, and “Summer Evening” by Zoltán Kodály.  Hungarian composers take wing, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, it’s music from “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” (Bernard Herrmann), “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (Henry Mancini), “Jaws” (John Williams), and “The Swimmer” (Marvin Hamlisch).  Expectations of aquatic refreshment are all wet, this Friday at 6 pm.

Even by composer standards, Rued Langgaard was a little bit of a strange bird.  Despite a promising start – including a symphony performed by the Berlin Philharmonic – his personal and creative eccentricities worked against him.  He would die in Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark, very far from the musical capital of Copenhagen, in 1952.  His reputation would not begin to gain traction for another 16 years. In all, Langgaard composed over 400 works.  Hear two of them, including the ambitious “Music of the Spheres,” this Sunday at 10 pm. 

Picaresque novels are generally characterized by having rogues or anti-heroes as protagonists, episodic, wayward structures, and, not infrequently, low humor.  Prepare to revel in some freewheeling lack of judgment, with music from “The Reivers” (John Williams), “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (Jerome Moross), “Anthony Adverse” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), and “Tom Jones” (John Addison).  We’re up to no good, this Friday at 6 pm.

According to a certain school of thought, folk music – music of the land – embodies the spirit of a nation.  And no nation’s composers milked that cow quite as soulfully as the English.  Tune in for an hour of bucolic reflections on a time lost to technology and industrialization, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

What’s your hurry?  Defy weekend traffic with music from “The Road Warrior” (Brian May), “Grand Prix” (Maurice Jarre), “Bullitt” (Lalo Schifrin), and “Back to the Future.”  We put the pedal to the metal, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Prepare to get “lost.”  It’s an hour of music from fantasy films set in lost worlds, including “King Kong” (Max Steiner), “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (Bernard Herrmann), “One Million Years B.C.” (Mario Nascimbene), and “Jurassic Park” (John Williams).  The music will be larger than life, this Friday at 6 pm. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a radio host in possession of a weekly film music show must be in want of a good theme.  Tune in for selections from “Emma” (Rachel Portman), “Sense and Sensibility” (Patrick Doyle), and two versions of “Pride and Prejudice” (Carl Davis and Dario Marianelli).  A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of – at least according to “Mansfield Park.”  The next best is a playlist assembled from Jane Austen movies.  Know your own happiness, this Friday at 6 pm. 

With a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, the Swiss-born composer Ernest Bloch decided to make the United States his permanent home.  He came to love and revere his adopted country as only an outsider could.  The epic rhapsody, “America,” was written, according to the composer, “in love for this country, in reverence to its past, in faith in its future.”  He dedicated the work to Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman.  Hear Bloch himself, full of patriotic fervor, introduce this homage to his adopted land.  Leopold Stokowski conducts the Symphony of the Air, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

As related in the Gospel of Luke, a young wastrel burns through his family fortune, then returns home to the arms of his forgiving father.  It’s an off-center Father’s Day tribute, as we listen to ballet music inspired by the Parable of the Prodigal Son, including works by Hugo Alfvén and Sergei Prokofiev.  Father knows best, this Sunday at 10 pm.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, what better time to revisit the spaghetti western?  After all, whose Dad doesn’t like spaghetti?  We’ll sample from music for the “Dollars” Trilogy” (“A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”), composed by Ennio Morricone, and the “Sabata” Trilogy (“Sabata” and “Return of Sabata”), composed by Marcello Giombini.  Tell Dad it’s all-you-can-eat.  We’ll be piling the plates high, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Mily Balakirev, the founder of “The Mighty Handful” – that group of Russian nationalist composers in which he was joined by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin, and Cesar Cui – had very strong ideas about what Russian music should be.  He was not at all bashful about telling other composers what to do.  However, his late disciple, Sergei Lyapunov, was as much influenced by the keyboard prowess of Franz Liszt as he was the patriotic zeal of his mentor.  Develop a liking for Lyapunov, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

With the exception, perhaps, of his own transcriptions of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Leopold Stokowski recorded more Wagner with the Philadelphia Orchestra than any other single composer.   Revisit some of Stoky’s early recordings, originally issued on 78s, including the controversial “Liebesnacht,” the original version of his symphonic synthesis after “Tristan und Isolde,” and a superb recording of “Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music” from “Die Walküre.”  The magic begins Sunday at 10 pm. 

A performance of his Symphony No. 3 sold over a million copies, making it one of the best-selling classical records of all time.  Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 4, completed in short score 30 years later, was to be the composer’s last major work.  Subtitled “Tansman Episodes,” the piece was written in tribute to his compatriot, Alexandre Tansman.  Tansman’s “Partita for Cello and Piano,” dedicated to the famed Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassadó, will also be featured.  Górecki does not repeat, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

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