Ross Amico

Program Host

Ross Amico is program host, and host of Picture Perfect which airs Saturdays 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

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, it’s a multifaceted portrait of Manhattan.  Enjoy selections from “All About Eve” and “Street Scene” (both by Alfred Newman),” “Taxi Driver” (Bernard Herrmann), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Henry Mancini), and “King Kong” (Max Steiner).  Also, Oscar Levant will perform George Gershwin’s “Second Rhapsody,” from the 1931 film “Delicious.”  It’s a collage of realism and romance, tragedy and comedy, seediness and sophistication.  The Big Apple never falls, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Shana Tova!  Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and sweet new year.  Mark the Jewish High Holidays with two complementary works:  Jacob Weinberg’s String Quartet No. 2 (its three movements, “Rosh Hashana,” “Yom Kippur,” and “Sukkot”) and Ernest Bloch’s orchestral rhapsody, the “Israel Symphony” (“Prayer in the Desert,” “Yom Kippur,” and “Succoth”). The High Holidays are a period of reflection, ten days of awe and repentance.  Welcome the year 5782, one hour later than usual, due to the length of today’s opera, this Sunday at 11 pm.

Heigh-ho!  Celebrate Labor Day with music from movies about the working stiff, including selections from “The Molly Maguires” (Henry Mancini), “Modern Times” (Charles Chaplin & David Raksin), “Metropolis” (Gottfried Huppertz), and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (Frank Churchill & Larry Morey).  The “picks” are all “mine” for Labor Day.  Whistle along, this Saturday at 6 pm.

It's back to school time!  Enjoy it while you can, with selections from “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (Richard Addinsell), “Dead Poets Society” (Maurice Jarre), “Back to School” (Danny Elfman), “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (Michael Kamen), and “Tom Brown’s School Days” (Richard Addinsell).  Minds will be sharpened and buttons will be pushed, this Saturday at 6 pm.

The end of summer can be a time of reminiscence, sentiment, and undefined yearning.  Join four American composers who drew inspiration in looking back on halcyon days.  We’ll hear William Schuman’s “American Festival Overture,” permeated by a boyhood call-to-play, Haskell Small’s piano suite “Visions of Childhood,” Charles Ives’ autobiographical Violin Sonata No. 4, “Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting,” and George Crumb’s reflection on hymns and folk songs of his formative years, “American Songbook III:  The River of Life.”  The past informs the present, this Sunday at 10 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 Saturday at 6 pm.

For many, the prospect of having to work through vacation could be a real drag; but for the creative artist, getting away can be a welcome opportunity to really get things done.  Tune in to enjoy three pieces associated with Howard Hanson’s summer home on Bold Island, Maine: his “Summer Seascape No. 2,” the Symphony No. 6, and “The Bold Island Suite.”  The North Atlantic inspires some august music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

It’s an hour of cinematic shell-games, with music from movies about charlatans and hucksters.  Keep your eyes and ears open for selections from “The Magician” (Erik Nordgren), “The Flim-Flam Man” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Catch Me If You Can” (John Williams), and “Elmer Gantry” (André Previn).  Listen with confidence, this Saturday at 6 pm.

It’s an hour of illicit love in music, as Czech composers find creative and romantic fulfillment outside marriage.  Vítězslava Kaprálová crafted her “Partita for Piano and String Orchestra” under the tutelage of her inamorato, Bohuslav Martinů (the couple pictured), and Zdeněk Fibich conceived his Symphony No. 2 as a musical reminiscence of the day he confessed his love to Anežka Schulzová, who became his muse and artistic collaborator.  Life is complicated.  It’s all very European, this Sunday at 10 pm.

To coincide with the Summer Games in Tokyo, get your blood pumping with selections from Olympic opening ceremonies and television broadcasts, by film composers Leo Arnaud, Angelo Badalamenti, Basil Poledouris, and John Williams, and a suite from a score written for a documentary on the games by Lee Holdridge.  We’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more Olympic music!  Join the quest for gold, this Saturday at 6 pm.

King Lot, Lancelot, Camelot – that’s a lot of “lots.”  Put the “art” in “Arthur” with musical treatments of the Arthurian legends by two peripatetic American Romantics, including the symphonic poem “Excalibur,” by New Jersey’s own Louis Coerne, and a three-movement Straussian tone poem, “Le Roi Arthur,” by George Templeton Strong.  Break a lance for Arthur, this Sunday at 10 pm.

It's a cinematic carnival of the animals.  Take a walk on the wild side with selections from “Born Free” (John Barry), “National Geographic’s ‘Grizzly!’” (Jerome Moross), “Hatari!” (Henry Mancini), and “The Jungle Book” (Miklós Rózsa).   Nature is red in tooth and claw (with baby elephants), this Saturday (7/17) at 6 pm.

Armchair travelers, rejoice!  It’s an hour of musical impressions of composers on vacation, including “Postcard Greetings” by Jenö Takács, “Four Breton Sketches” by Anthony Hedges, and “En Vacances” (“On Vacation”) by Deodat de Severac.  No baggage!  No fuss!  Relax and enjoy the music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

It’s an hour of tunes for the Tudors.   Grab a joint of mutton and enjoy selections from “Young Bess” (Miklós Rózsa), “Mary, Queen of Scots” (John Barry), “Anne of the Thousand Days” (Georges Delerue), and “The Prince and the Pauper” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  Intrigue!  Executions!  Mistaken identity and swashbuckling adventure!  Try not to lose your head, this Saturday at 6 pm.

July 13 marks the centenary of composer Ernest Gold.  Best known for his classic scores to films like “On the Beach,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and “Exodus” (for which he won an Academy Award), Gold wrote symphonies before he migrated to Hollywood.  We’ll sample some of his concert music, including his String Quartet No. 1, from 1948, and his “Songs of Love and Parting,” from 1963, performed by his wife of 19 years, Marni Nixon.  All that glitters is Gold, this Sunday at 10 pm.

George Gershwin rose from Tin Pan Alley scrapper to Broadway royalty.  From there, he conquered the concert hall and even the opera house, with his blend of popular song, jazz, blues, spirituals and European classical forms.  Tune in for a selection of Gershwin songs, peformed by Al Jolson, Ella Logan, and Fred Astaire (pictured, with the composer and his brother, Ira); the world premiere recording of “An American in Paris,” with Gershwin himself on the celesta; and the Concerto in F, played on a memorial concert by Oscar Levant.  It’s music of Gershwin, by George, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Get out your Silly Putty!  There will be plenty of vibrant colors for you to enjoy, as the focus will be on comic adventurers – as in heroes from the funnies.  We’ll hear music from movies inspired by the two-dimensional cliffhangers of newspaper favorites “Prince Valiant” (Franz Waxman), “The Phantom” (David Newman), and “Dick Tracy” (Danny Elfman), as well as the book-length comic albums that chronicle “The Adventures of Tintin” (John Williams).  See you in the funny pages, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Atticus Finch may have been a model father, but he was also one of cinema’s most memorable attorneys.  An ample suite from “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Elmer Bernstein) will cap an hour of music from movies about lawyers, judges, and courtrooms.  Also featured will be selections from “The Young Philadelphians” and “Inherit the Wind” (Ernest Gold), “The Paper Chase” (John Williams), and “The Magnificent Yankee” (David Raksin).  Oyez, oyez!  Approach the bench for a hint of Father’s Day, this Saturday at 6 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.

Indiana Jones first cracked his whip on the big screen on June 12, 1981.   George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s smart homage to cinematic serials of yore became a box office smash.  “Indy 5” is on the way in 2022.  For now, celebrate four decades of fedoras and five o’clock shadows with selections from John Williams’ classic scores, including “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984), “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989), and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008).  It’s not the years, it’s the mileage, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Skim the cream of Bulgarian music with a collection of symphonic dances by Pancho Vladigerov, the country’s first major composer to harness Bulgarian folk traditions to classical forms, and “Thracian Echoes” by American composer Derek Bermel, an affectionate souvenir of his studies in the region. There will be no balking in the Balkans, this Sunday at 10 pm.

  

  

City mice go the country this week.  Displaced cops, dilapidated farmhouses, and cowboy fantasy camps form the bases for “Witness” (Maurice Jarre), “On Dangerous Ground” (Bernard Herrmann), “George Washington Slept Here” (Adolph Deutsch), and “City Slickers” (Marc Shaiman).  Whether you’re on the lam or on the lamb, the fresh air will do you good, this Saturday at 6 pm.

  

  

The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes will be announced on June 11.  Tune in to sample music by past recipients, including William Schuman’s “A Free Song,” after Walt Whitman, the first piece to be recognized with a Pulitzer, in 1943; selections from William Bolcom’s “12 New Etudes for Piano,” honored in 1988; and Caroline Shaw’s extraordinary “Partita for 8 Voices,” celebrated in 2013.  Shaw, the youngest recipient of the prize for music, was 30 years-old and a doctoral candidate at Princeton University.  You might say it’s an hour of prized Pulitzer music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

May 29 marks the anniversary of the birth of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957).  One of music’s great prodigies, Korngold composed operas, orchestral works, and chamber music of astonishing maturity from a very early age.  In the 1930s, he arrived in Hollywood, where he set about revolutionizing the art of film scoring.  Remember him on his birthday with selections from “The Sea Hawk” (1940), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935), “Another Dawn” (1937), and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938).  Lend some swagger to your weekend, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Sometimes it takes a good dragon to lend perspective to one’s cicadaphobia.  Fire your imagination, 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).  Rekindle your affection for dragons, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Vicariously tread the boards of Norway, through incidental music by two of the country’s most prominent composers.  Tune in for selections from “Askeladden” (“The Ash Lad”), by Johan Halvorsen, and the complete “Sigurd Jorsalfar,” by Edvard Grieg (pictured, with the playwright Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson left).  Your ticket is reserved for Norway, incidentally, this Sunday at 10 pm.

There is a Turkish proverb: “Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”  The music of Ahmed Adnan Saygun is very good coffee indeed.  Saygun (pictured, right) rode a wave of Turkish nationalism to become his country’s foremost composer in the Western classical tradition.  Perhaps best remembered abroad as an associate of Béla Bartók (pictured, left), Saygun was a prominent ethnomusicologist, but also an important educator and cultural administrator.  Savor an hour of his sometimes sweet, often astringent, always rewarding music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Before John Williams propelled the western into outer space, he composed music for a fistful of terrestrial oaters.  Saddle up for selections from “The Cowboys,” “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing,” “The Missouri Breaks,” and “The Rare Breed,” this Saturday at 6 pm.

On Mother’s Day, enjoy two treatments of the nursery story of “Beauty and the Beast.”  Georges Auric supplied an ethereal, haunting score for the Jean Cocteau 1946 classic, “La Belle et la Bête,” one of the most beloved of foreign films.  In 1992, Philadelphia composer Robert Moran wrote “Desert of Roses,” on the same subject, for Houston Grand Opera.  We’ll hear Moran’s “Arias, Interludes and Inventions,” a suite from the larger work, with moving contributions by soprano Jayne West.  It’s a veritable B&B banquet for Mom, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Spring is a time of hope and renewal.  Celebrate the arrival of May with selections from “The Secret Garden” (Zbigniew Preisner), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (Hugo Friedhofer), “The Accidental Tourist” (John Williams), and “The Natural” (Randy Newman).  It’s all about fresh growth, new beginnings, and second chances.  Spring’s the thing, this Saturday at 6 pm.

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