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

Take the long view, with music from award-winning epics by director David Lean.  Enjoy selections from “Lawrence of Arabia” (Maurice Jarre), “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (Malcolm Arnold), and “Doctor Zhivago” (Maurice Jarre).  Close your eyes and get the big picture, this Saturday at 6 pm.

A jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness.  Well, we’ve got the wilderness anyway.  Poetry warms the soul, through selections from “Dead Poets Society” (Maurice Jarre), “Lady Caroline Lamb” (Richard Rodney Bennett), “Il Postino” (Luis Bacalov), and “Cyrano de Bergerac” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  It could be verse, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Aram Khachaturian (on the right, with Prokofiev and Shostakovich) described his Symphony No. 2 as “a requiem of protest against war and violence.”  Its nickname, “The Bell,” alludes to a kind of alarm that opens and closes the work.  Leopold Stokowski will conduct the piece, in a rarely-heard recording from the late 1950s.  Then, to round out the hour, Nadia Reisenberg will perform Khachaturian’s “Toccata,” from a 1947 Carnegie Hall recital.  Sharpen up on Khachaturian, with music other than the “Sabre Dance,” this Sunday at 10 pm.

All signs point north!  Keep looking up, with musical responses to the uncanny, natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis.  Prepare to be dazzled by Uuno Klami’s “Northern Lights” and Geirr Tveitt’s Piano Concerto No. 4.  It’s an hour of radiant music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

With the grand cacophony of Christmas still fresh in everyone’s ears, we’ll hear music from movies in which toys play a pivotal role, including “Citizen Kane” (Bernard Herrmann), “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (Danny Elfman), “Toccata for Toy Trains” (Elmer Bernstein), and “Toy Story” (Randy Newman).  Keep popping those aspirin.  It’s an hour of noise for toys, this Saturday at 6 pm.

  

  

It’s an hour of musical stocking stuffers, including selections from “Miracle on 34th Street” (Cyril J. Mockridge), “A Christmas Carol” (Franz Waxman), “Home Alone” (John Williams), “Ben-Hur” (Miklós Rózsa), “The Bishop’s Wife” (Hugo Friedhofer), and “The Holly and the Ivy” (Malcolm Arnold).  Happy holidays!  Yule be glad you tuned in, this Saturday at 6 pm. 

The music is big... it’s the PICTURES that got small.  Tune in for an hour of television music by composers better known for their film scores.  We’ll hear selections from “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” (Bernard Herrmann), “Wagon Train” (Jerome Moross), “Lost in Space” (John Williams), and a medley of classic television themes (Jerry Goldsmith).  You’re invited to think inside the box, this Saturday at 6 pm.

It’s all about hauntings and specters for Halloween.  Tune in, if you dare, for otherworldly music from “The Uninvited” (Victor Young), “Beetlejuice” (Danny Elfman), “Poltergeist” (Jerry Goldsmith), and “Ghostbusters” (Elmer Bernstein). The bridge is out… you’ll have to spend the night, this Saturday at 6 pm.

We all know the sound. That crazy, trilled, electronic whistle that dips into a whoop. Or it starts in a trough and shoots up into the super stratosphere. It’s the sound of UFOs and mad science. It’s the sound of the theremin.  Thrill to its distinctive, extraterrestrial timbre in selections from “The Thing” (Dimitri Tiomkin), “Ed Wood” (Howard Shore), “Rocketship X-M” (Ferde Grofé), and “Spellbound” (Miklós Rózsa).  Make contact with the theremin – an instrument played without physical touch – this Saturday 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).  If you happen to forget a compass, don’t panic.  Life finds a way, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Celebrate Edgar Allan Poe with an hour of music inspired by his mad and melancholy verse, including “Ulalume” by Joseph Holbrooke, “The Haunted Palace” by Florent Schmitt, selections from the song cycle “Lenoriana” by Benjamin C.S. Boyle, and “The Raven” by Arcady Dubensky.  Prepare to brood over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, this Sunday at 10 pm.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then surely Hanon etudes are a ticket to the madhouse.  Get keyed-up, with selections from “Hangover Square” (Bernard Herrmann), “The Beast with Five Fingers” (Max Steiner), “The Mephisto Waltz” (Jerry Goldsmith), and “The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T” (Frederick Hollander).  Practice makes psychotic, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Florent Schmitt was one of the most successful French composers of the early 20th century.  However, as fashions changed, his characteristically opulent music became marginalized, only to experience something of a revival, in recent years, mostly on recordings.  We’ll mark the sesquicentenary of Schmitt’s birth (on September 28, 1870) with selections from his incidental music for a production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” and his grandiose setting of “Psalm XLVII.”  Bring your appetite for overegged Florentine.  Schmitt happens, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Shana tova!  Welcome the year 5781 with music for the Jewish High Holy Days, including Herman Berlinski’s “Shofar Service,” David Stock’s “Yizkor,” and John McCabe’s “The Chagall Windows” – luminous, strange, and beautiful impressions of stained glass tableaux from the synagogue of Hadassah Medical Center.  It’s a fresh start, from toot to atonement, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Take flight with music from movies about airports and airplanes, including selections from “The V.I.P.s” (Miklós Rózsa), “The Terminal” (John Williams), “Airport” (Alfred Newman), and “North by Northwest” (Bernard Herrmann).  Rush more to Rushmore.  Departure is this Saturday at 6 pm.

The great Ennio Morricone died last month at the age of 91.  The composer of over 500 film and television scores, Morricone first gained international fame through his idiosyncratic music for the westerns of Sergio Leone.  A six-time Academy Award nominee – and the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 2007 – Morricone earned his only competitive Oscar as recently as 2016, for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”  We’ll remember this prolific and inventive composer with selections from the genre he transformed, this Friday at 6 pm.

As a teacher at the Paris Conservatory, Belgian-born organist and composer César Franck became highly influential among a generation of French and Belgian musicians.  We’ll examine the reasons why, and hear music by Armand Marsick (his symphonic poem “La Source”) and Guillaume Lekeu (his Violin Sonata), this Sunday at 10 pm. 

“The Gilded Age” was a term coined by Mark Twain to describe the era extending roughly from the end of Reconstruction to the turn of the 20th century. We’ll hear music from “The Heiress” (Aaron Copland), inspired by Henry James’ “Washington Square;” “The Age of Innocence” (Elmer Bernstein), after Edith Wharton; “The Magnificent Ambersons” (Bernard Herrmann), adapted from the novel by Booth Tarkington; and “Mr. Skeffington” (Franz Waxman), after Elizabeth von Arnim.  All that glitters is not gold.  We peel back the veneer of prosperity, this Friday at 6 pm.

It’s a Kipling double-bill!  Tune in for the symphonic poem “The Law of the Jungle,” by Charles Koechlin, inspired by “The Jungle Book,” and the ballet “The Butterfly that Stamped,” by Bohuslav Martinu, after one of the “Just So Stories.”  Get ready to go wild, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

Get lost!  Strike out for unknown territory with selections from movies about lost worlds and forgotten civilizations, including “King Solomon’s Mines” (Mischa Spolianksy), “She” (James Bernard), “The Man Who Would Be King” (Maurice Jarre), and “Lost Horizon” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  The journey is the destination.  Let music be your map, this Friday at 6 pm.

“Hey, Dad?  You want to have a catch?”  Celebrate Father’s Day with music from movies about model fathers, complicated fathers, and father-son wish fulfillment.  Enjoy selections from “The Godfather” (Nino Rota), “Field of Dreams” (James Horner), “Life with Father” (Max Steiner), and “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Elmer Bernstein).  You can try to rank the music, but Father’s Day rates a tie.  (Yes, it’s a pun.  Dads love puns.)  Spare a thought for dear old Dad, this Friday at 6 pm.

Happy Father’s Day!  We’ll honor Dad with an hour of music about sports, including “Rugby” by Arthur Honegger, “Half-Time” by Bohuslav Martinu, “The Yale-Princeton Football Game” by Charles Ives, and highlights from the baseball opera “The Mighty Casey” by William Schuman.  Combine with a La-Z-Boy and a cold beer, and it’s a recipe for dad contentment, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Strike up, pipers!  Between the surmised date of Shakespeare’s birth (April 23) and his baptismal date (April 26), enjoy music by Patrick Doyle, written for the films of Kenneth Branagh.  All the world’s a stage, with selections from “Henry V,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet,” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”  Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts, this Friday at 6 pm.

The game is afoot!  It’s an hour of music from movies inspired by the world’s greatest detective.  Fish your tobacco from the toe of your Persian slipper, don your deerstalker, and hone your deductive reasoning, with selections from “Sherlock Holmes” (Hans Zimmer), “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (Miklós Rózsa), “Young Sherlock Holmes” (Bruce Broughton), and “Without a Clue” (Henry Mancini).  Enjoyment is elementary, my dear Watson, this Friday at 6 pm.

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, green up with music from – and in celebration of – the Emerald Isle.  Tune in for works by Irish composers John Larchet, Philip Hammond, Howard Ferguson, and A.J. Potter, and works on Celtic themes by Percy Grainger, Sir Arnold Bax, and John Foulds.  Green is the new black, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Take a break from the holiday hurly-burly to enjoy music composed for “The Gift of the Magi,” from “O. Henry’s Full House” (Alfred Newman), “Little Women” (Thomas Newman), “Ben-Hur” (Miklós Rózsa), and “A Christmas Carol” (Richard Addinsell).  Cozy in with a library of Christmas classics, this Friday at 6 pm.

Good writers captivate so completely with their words, it’s easy to imagine that they must lead very colorful lives – all the more so when they are given the big screen treatment.  Music adds an extra dimension to the lives of the Brontës in “Devotion” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), Iris Murdoch in “Iris” (James Horner), the Bard of Avon in “Shakespeare in Love” (Stephen Warbeck), and Samuel Clemens in “The Adventures of Mark Twain” (Max Steiner).  Writers are such characters, aren’t they?  Everything’s writ large, this Friday at 6 pm.

With Halloween lurking around a dark corner, we take a page from the undead.   Get your blood up with music from film adaptations of vampire novels, including “Interview with the Vampire” (Eliot Goldenthal), “Dracula” (John Williams), “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Henry Jackman), “Horror of Dracula” (James Bernard), and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (Wojciech Kilar).  Watch out for those papercuts, this Friday at 6 pm.

Director Brian De Palma has frequently been criticized for his adherence to “genre trash,” but audiences certainly remember his movies.  With Halloween right around the corner, enjoy music from suspense and supernatural thrillers, “Obsession” (Bernard Hermann), “The Fury” (John Williams), and “Carrie” (Pino Donaggio), along with that for the crime-busting adventure “The Untouchables” (Ennio Morricone).  De Palma takes the palm, this Friday at 6 pm.

Prepare to get all fired up.  Rekindle your affection for dragons with music from “Dragonheart” (Randy Edelman), “Dragonslayer” (Alex North), “How to Train Your Dragon” (John Powell), and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Howard Shore).  Feel the burn, this Friday at 6 pm.

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