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

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.

What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!  The next best is an hour of music from barbarian movies.  Tune in for selections from films inspired by the writings of pulp master Robert E. Howard, including “Red Sonja” (Ennio Morricone), “Kull the Conqueror” (Joel Goldsmith), and “Conan the Barbarian” and “Conan the Destroyer” (both Basil Poledouris).  Nothing hurts us, except pain, this Friday at 6 pm.

Expand your palette with music from movies about the great painters, including “The Agony and the Ecstasy” (Alex North), “Moulin Rouge” (Georges Auric), “The Picasso Summer” (Michel Legrand), and “Lust for Life” (Miklós Rózsa).  Prepare for a brush with greatness, this Friday at 6 pm.

With two weeks left in August, there’s still time for a quick European vacation.  Tune in for selections from “A Summer Story” (Georges Delerue), “Smiles of a Summer Night” (Erik Nordgren), “My Father’s Glory” & “My Mother’s Castle” (Vladimir Cosma), and “Cinema Paradiso” (Ennio Morricone).  Music is the universal language, this Friday at 6 pm.

We’re off to the antipodes for an hour of music from films set in the Australian bush, including “Bitter Springs” (Ralph Vaughan Williams & Ernest Irving), “Quigley Down Under” (Basil Poledouris), “Walkabout” (John Barry”), and “The Overlanders” (John Ireland).  It’s Oz without the munchkins, this Friday at 6 pm.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold is the focus of this summer’s Bard Music Festival, to be held at Bard College in upstate New York, Aug. 9 to 11 and Aug. 16 to 18.  For this special broadcast, Bard president, conductor, and co-artistic director Leon Botstein will comment on the festival and the composer, who started out as a child prodigy and the toast of Vienna and went on to become one of the seminal figures of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  There’s gold in that there korn, this Friday at 6 pm.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” it’s music from movies inspired by Apollo 11, the Space Race, speculative fiction, and conspiracy theory.  Take flight with music from “First Man” (Justin Hurwitz), “The Right Stuff ” (Bill Conti), “Capricorn One” (Jerry Goldsmith), and the original, rejected score for “2001:  A Space Odyssey” (Alex North).  Prepare for lift-off, this Friday at 6 pm.

With Bastille Day right around the corner, surge to power on the allegedly diminutive shoulders of Napoleon Bonaparte.  We indulge in small pleasures with a little music from “War and Peace” (Nino Rota), “The Pride and the Passion” (George Antheil), “The Duellists” (Howard Blake), and “Napoleon” (Arthur Honegger).  It will be a satisfying show by any measure, this Friday at 6 pm.

The star-spangled glare of American music doesn’t just end with the fireworks.  This week, on “Picture Perfect,” we’ll bask in the pyrotechnic after-glow of Independence Day with an hour of film music by Aaron Copland.  Enjoy selections from “The City,” “The North Star,” “Something Wild,” and the Academy Award winning score for “The Heiress.”  It’s music for the silver screen by the Dean of American Composers, this Friday at 6 pm.

From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island in search of a better life.  More than 40 percent of the U.S. population, over 100 million Americans, can trace their roots to someone who entered this country along that route.  Composer Peter Boyer assembled texts from testimonials archived as part of the Ellis Island Oral History Project to create “Ellis Island:  The Dream of America.”  These are real words of real people telling their own stories.  The New Colossus lifts her lamp, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Every time you support The Classical Network, you make a kindly extraterrestrial’s heart glow.  Every time you don’t contribute – you risk activating the destructive power of Gort!  It’s the final day of our end-of-the-fiscal-year membership campaign.   Please do your part to ensure universal harmony by calling 1-888-232-1212, or by donating online at wwfm.org.  Then enjoy music from “Cocoon” (James Horner), “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (Bernard Herrmann), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (John Williams).  We come in peace, this Friday at 6 pm.

Two composers with outstanding lyrical gifts remember their fathers, for Father’s Day.  Hear Eric Ewazen’s Oboe Concerto, “Down a River of Time,” and Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 4, “Requiem.”  Hanson’s “Requiem,” a purely instrumental work, earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1944.  It sure beats another necktie, this Sunday at 10 pm.

On the birthday of Sir Edward Elgar, tune in to hear the composer conduct his own music – in stereo!  These recordings, captured all the way back in the late 1920s and early ‘30s, were documented by conscientious engineers, who employed multiple machines to guard against technological failure.  The elements were skillfully combined and released for the first time on a 4-CD set, “Elgar Remastered,” on the Somm Recordings label.  Hear Elgar as you’ve never heard him before – in “accidental” stereo – this Sunday at 10 pm.

May 31st marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman.  We honor this most influential of American poets all month long with music inspired by his verse, including choral works, orchestral pieces, and songs.  Whitman attained a venerable status here in the United States.  More surprising, perhaps, was his impact on composers of the United Kingdom.  Tune in to this, the second of four programs, for music by Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Frederick Delius.  Walk out… toward the unknown region, this Sunday at 10 pm.

And they’re off!  On the eve of the Kentucky Derby, the focus is on music from movies about horse-racing.  Tune in for selections from “The Black Stallion” (Carmine Coppola), “The Reivers” (John Williams), “Seabiscuit” (Randy Newman), and “Hidalgo” (James Newton Howard).  Start your weekend with a mint julep, this Friday at 6 pm.

With the First of May right around the corner, prepare to caper about the Maypole to “May Day in Queen Elizabeth’s Time” from Sir Arthur Sullivan’s “Victoria and Merrie England.”  Then celebrate the “gentle season” with a riot of forest lovers, satyrs, and maenads in Arnold Bax’s “Spring Fire.”  Music is in bloom.  Sate yourself with satyrs, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Beauty patches are back this week.  It’s an hour of lace and licentiousness, with movies set during the reign of Charles II.  Tune in for music from “Restoration” (James Newton Howard), “The King’s Thief” (Miklós Rózsa), “The Draughtsman’s Contract” (Michael Nyman), and “Forever Amber” (David Raksin).  Everyone, giggle into your handkerchiefs and wear ribbons on your shoes, this Friday at 6 pm.

The devout Belgian composer Joseph Ryelandt composed his Symphony No. 4 on the very eve of World War I.  This inspirational work concludes with a triumphant statement of the Credo from the Catholic Mass.  Also featured will be a Credo setting by the Franco-Flemish composer, of some four centuries earlier, Josquin des Prez.  Enjoy two spiritual discoveries rooted in the Mass, Easter Sunday at 10 pm.

It’s another hour of Biblical epics, but with an interesting twist.  Rather than go directly to the Gospels, these are all films inspired by bestselling historical novels.  Tune in for music from film adaptations of Lloyd C. Douglas’ “The Robe” (Alfred Newman), Thomas B. Costain’s “The Silver Chalice” (Franz Waxman), Pär Lagerkvist’s “Barrabas” (Mario Nascimbene), and General Lew Wallace’s “Ben-Hur” (Miklós Rózsa).  It’s the New Testament made new, this Friday at 6 pm.

At a time when most people’s knowledge of Handel’s large-scale vocal works began and ended with “Messiah,” Sir Thomas Beecham was dipping into the operas and polishing up the oratorios for the delectation of a new age.  He defended these curations and modifications, stating that “without some effort along these lines, the greater portion of [Handel’s] magnificent output will remain unplayed, possibly to the satisfaction of drowsy armchair purists....”  Experience the vitality of Beecham’s beautiful Handel realizations, this Sunday at 10 pm.

With Passover and Easter right around the corner, we’re entering the peak season for Bible movies.  This week on “Picture Perfect,” it’s an hour of music from epics inspired by the Old Testament – including “Samson and Delilah” (Victor Young), “Solomon and Sheba” (Mario Nascimbene), “Sodom and Gomorrah” (Miklós Rózsa), and “The Ten Commandments” (Elmer Bernstein).  Chariots!  Tunics!  Histrionic acting!  It’s going to be epic, this Friday at 6 pm.

For some people, being a master in one field, it seems, just isn’t enough.  We’ll hear works by three successful composer-painters, including the cantankerous American modernist Carl Ruggles, the Lithuanian romantic Mikalojus Čiurlionis, and the German-American expressionist Lyonel Feininger.  Prepare to see double, with an hour of music by ambidextrous artists, this Sunday at 10 pm.

All aboard!  From the beginning, trains have provided good escapist fun at the movies.  Tune in for transporting selections from “Murder on the Orient Express” (Richard Rodney Bennett), “The Train” (Maurice Jarre), “Strangers on a Train” (Dimitri Tiomkin), and “The Great Train Robbery” (Jerry Goldsmith).  Trains are the ticket, this Friday at 6 pm.

Edvard Grieg was a gentle, generous soul.  As Norway’s most important composer, he provided inspiration not only to Scandinavians, but also to artists all over Europe and the United States, who sought alternatives to Austro-German musical methodology.  Grieg’s personality and achievements engendered much affection and loyalty.  Tune in for an hour of music dedicated to Grieg by his friends and admirers, including Edward MacDowell, Julius Röntgen, and Percy Grainger.  Everybody loves Grieg, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Prophecies must be fulfilled, order restored, and the land made whole!  Join the quest for music from fantasy films, with selections from “The Dark Crystal” (Trevor Jones), “Willow” (James Horner), “The Lord of the Rings” (Leonard Rosenman), and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Howard Shore).  It’s a hero’s journey from Jim Henson to Mount Doom, this Friday at 6 pm.

Edward Joseph Collins (1886-1951) was born to Irish-American parents in Joliet, Illinois.  Though he studied abroad with Max Bruch and Engelbert Humperdinck, it was in Chicago that he made his career.  Nearly a generation older than Copland and Gershwin, he too found inspiration in African-American spirituals, cowboy songs, and jazz.  Collins’ relationship to the Irish was a complex one.  Nonetheless, he couldn’t escape the pull of his heritage and its music.  Tune in to hear three of his Irish meditations, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Before André Previn became an acclaimed conductor of symphonies, he stood before some of the greatest sight-readers in the world, who made up the Hollywood studios’ crackerjack orchestras.  From “Lassie” to “My Fair Lady” to “Rollerball,” Previn worked on over 50 films.  He was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 4.  We’ll explore a neglected aspect of this supremely talented musical polymath, with selections from “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “Irma la Douce,” “Dead Ringer,” and “Elmer Gantry,” this Friday at 6 pm.

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