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

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.

The Twin Cities’ Dominick Argento died on February 20 at the age of 91.  Acclaimed especially for his vocal music, he left behind a substantial body of operas, song cycles, and choral works, including “From the Diary of Virginia Woolf,” which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975.  Celebrate his legacy with “Six Elizabethan Songs” for soprano and Baroque ensemble, “A Ring of Time,” composed for the 70th anniversary of the Minnesota Orchestra, and the “Valentino Dances” from his opera “The Dream of Valentino.”   It’s a musical monument to a Midwestern master, this Sunday at 10 pm.

CBS Records’ landmark Black Composers Series has finally come to compact disc.  Made under the direction of conductor Paul Freeman and employing world class orchestras and soloists, these recordings originally appeared on vinyl between 1974 and 1978.  Sony Classical has reissued these invaluable documents as a boxed set.  To coincide with Black History Month, we’re listening to highlights from the 10-CD collection, Sundays in February at 10 pm.  This week, we conclude our survey with music by William Grant Still (pictured), Ulysses Kay, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Experience the Power of Alfred Newman – TYRONE Power, that is.  It’s music from Power swashbucklers made at 20th Century Fox, where Newman served as music director for 20 years.  Romance and swagger characterize these selections from “Captain from Castile,” “The Black Swan,” “The Mark of Zorro,” and “Prince of Foxes.”  Catch some Z’s with Zorro.  Alfred Newman makes his mark, this Friday at 6 pm.

The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razor’s edge.  Journey through breathtaking vistas in India and Tibet, even as we feel our way to the inner realms of spirit and psyche, with music from “Black Narcissus” (Brian Easdale), “Seven Years in Tibet” (John Williams), “The Razor’s Edge” (Alfred Newman), and “Lost Horizon” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  We can’t guarantee that you’ll find enlightenment, but there will be plenty to awe and inspire, this Friday at 6 pm.

In this season of long shadows, revisit the world of film noir, with music from “The Big Sleep” (Max Steiner), “Chinatown” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Miller’s Crossing” (Carter Burwell), and “Brute Force,” “The Killers,” and “The Naked City” (Miklos Rozsa).  Don your rumpled linen suit, draw the Venetian blinds, and play the sap for nobody, this Friday at 6 pm.

Think inside the box, with music from “The Snowman” (Howard Blake), “The Homecoming” (Jerry Goldsmith), “A Christmas Carol” (Bernard Herrmann), and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Vince Guaraldi).  For once, the snow on your television screen is wholly intentional, this Friday at 6 pm.

It’s a Christmas bouquet, of sorts, with Hugo Distler’s “Die Weihnachtsgeschichte” (“The Christmas Story”), an otherworldly, a cappella masterpiece punctuated by seven variations on the carol “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” (“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming”), and Emil Waldteufel’s waltz, “Roses de Noël.”  The holidays are in bloom, this Sunday at 10 pm.

It may seem like odd timing to drop a program about war right into the middle of the holidays, but I can’t change the timing of Pearl Harbor.  Revisit some of John Williams’ music for films set during the World War II.  Two of them take place in the Pacific theater (“Midway,” “None But the Brave”).  One of them is a comedy, believe it or not (“1941”), set in Los Angeles.  We’ll also hear a solemn hymn to those who sacrificed everything for a greater good (“Saving Private Ryan”), this Friday at 6 pm.

Celebrate Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, with music on Jewish themes and by Jewish composers, including “Aspects of a Great Miracle” by Michael Isaacson, “Three Hassidic Dances” by Leon Stein,” and “The Klezmer Concerto” by Ofer Ben-Amots.  Enjoy your fill of light and latkes, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Do the holidays already have you feeling a little disoriented?  This week, on “Picture Perfect,” we’re literally seeing double.  Tune in for music from “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann), “La double vie de Véronique” (Zbigniew Preisner), “Dead Ringer” (André Previn), and “The Prince and the Pauper” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  Double your pleasure with movies about mirror images, this Friday at 6 pm.

Inspired by Brueghel’s painting “The Land of Cockaigne,” Knudage Rissager’s ballet, “Slaraffenland,” imagines a Promised Land “where roasted pigeons fly around in the air with knives and forks in their backs, and the streets are paved with marzipan and chocolate.”  A silly boy wanders into the country of King Sauce and becomes ill from overindulgence.  Along the way, he encounters Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Captain Fear, Fountains of Liqueur, Cigarettes, and the Candy Princess.  Conclude the long, gluttonous holiday weekend with a dose of musical tryptophan, this Sunday at 10 pm.

At the very dawn of color television, the National Geographic Society began its successful run of eagerly anticipated specials.  These specials really were special, with breathtaking images and real-life adventures unlike anything previously experienced in American living rooms.  Episodes were scored by some of top film composers of the day, including Elmer Bernstein (“Yankee Sails Across Europe”), Ernest Gold (“The Last Vikings”), Leonard Rosenman (“Dr. Leakey and the Dawn of Man”), and Jerome Moross (“Grizzly!”).  Travel the world with National Geographic, this Friday at 6 pm. 

For the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that formally ended World War I, it’s the second of a special two-part program showcasing “A World Requiem” by John Foulds.  Foulds’ work was given its premiere on Armistice Day, 1923, played four more times, then lay dormant for some 80 years until revived on Armistice Day, 2007, for this recording.  Also featured will be music by Cecil Coles, who died near the Somme in a heroic attempt to rescue his comrades.  War’s the pity, this Sunday at 10 pm.

There’s more to Thanksgiving than turkey and football.  We’ll hear music from movies reflective of what’s best in human nature and most admirable in the American character, including selections from “The Cummington Story” (Aaron Copland), “Field of Dreams” (James Horner), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (Hugo Friedhofer), and “Lincoln” (John Williams); then count our blessings and aspire to do better, this Friday at 6 pm.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that formally ended World War I, it’s the first of a special two-part program showcasing “A World Requiem” by John Foulds.  Foulds’ work was given its premiere on Armistice Day, 1923, played four more times, then lay dormant for some 80 years until revived on Armistice Day, 2007, for this recording.  Also featured will be a contemporaneous tone poem by Lilian Elkington, literally rescued from a trash heap following the composer’s death.  War’s the pity, this Sunday at 10 pm.

It’s autumn in the North countries, as well as in the Nordic soul.  Test your limits. not only for lengthening shadows, but also on gratuitous vowels, with music by Danish composer Rued Langgaard – his Symphony No. 4, “Fall of the Leaf” – and Finnish master Einojuhani Rautavaara – “Autumn Gardens,” the composer’s meditation on beauty in nature and the transience of life.  The shadows lengthen and the days grow short, even as the names grow long, this Sunday at 10 pm.

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