J. Willard Roosevelt

Biography

composer of chamber music and operas, J. Willard Roosevelt was born in Spain in 1918, to Kermit Roosevelt and Belle Willard, dauther of the then U.S. Ambassador to Spain.  Grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, He was raised in New York City, and became interested in music at an early age. Roosevelt was a student at Groton, and studied composition at Harvard with Walter Piston and briefly in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He joined the Navy, and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Hart College in 1959. He devoted much of his life to teaching music and composition to private students and at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Turtle Bay Music School, and Columbia University.

He appeared as pianist in numerous New York concert halls, and as a composer received numerous commissions including settings of Finnegan's Wake, a cello concerto, piano concerto, and a one-act opera, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, among many chamber and solo works.

His opera was performed at Alice Tully Hall in March, 1976, under the direction of Dorothy Maynor and Thomas Scherman. Set to a libretto by Loften Mitchell, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, was about a group of African-American slaves who traveled to America in the 17th-century with the Dutch, settling their own colony in New Amsterdam after earning their freedom. The opera began as a piano vocal work for five singers but was orchestrated for a benefit in honor of the Harlem School for the Arts.

Another work, commissioned for small orchestra, dancer, soprano and narrator, to texts by Stephen Crane and Oliver WEndell Holmes, Jr., was performed in May 1976 for several bicentennial celebrations, under the direction of Sayard Stone with Carmen de Lavallade, Arlene Stone-Nercombe and Alvin Epstein.

He passed away in 2008 in Orient, New York.

ACE Publications

42 title(s)
Composer Title SCORING/INSTRUMENTATION Year
J. Willard Roosevelt FIVE SONGS FROM CALEB Baritone, piano
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J. Willard Roosevelt THREE SONGS FOR BARITONE AND PIANO (Gerard Manley Hopkins) Baritone, piano
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J. Willard Roosevelt CONCERTO for Piano & Orch pf & orch:2-2-2-2, 2-1-1-0,perc,str
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J. Willard Roosevelt DANCE SUITE pf
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J. Willard Roosevelt SHORT SUITE ob, cl, bsn
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J. Willard Roosevelt BAND PIECE 1 school band
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J. Willard Roosevelt BAND PIECE NO. 2 For school band
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J. Willard Roosevelt WALTZ fl & pf, OR cl & pf
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J. Willard Roosevelt STRING QUARTET str qrt
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J. Willard Roosevelt THREE SONGS FROM POE Soprano, clarinet, piano
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J. Willard Roosevelt AMERICAN SAMPLER S, hn, pf
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J. Willard Roosevelt OUR DEAD BROTHERS BID US THINK OF LIFE Sop, narrator, chamber ensemble (or piano)
Sop, male narrator, cham orch: 1-1-1-1; 1-1-1-0; pf, 2perc; str
J. Willard Roosevelt AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN Solo S, A, T, Bar, Bass; orch: 1/pic-1-2-1; 2-1-1-0; pf, perc; str
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J. Willard Roosevelt WAR IS KIND (chamber version of Our Dead Brothers Bid Us...) speaker, sop, ob, pf, str qrt
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J. Willard Roosevelt LAMENT FOR WILLIE THOMAS JONES 4 vcl
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J. Willard Roosevelt SONG & DANCE SUITE ob,cl,vla
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J. Willard Roosevelt AUTUMN SONG ON PERRY STREET -
soprano, clarinet
J. Willard Roosevelt FOUR SONGS sop & cl(A)
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J. Willard Roosevelt FIVE SONGS FOR SOPRANO AND VIOLA -
Sop, vla
J. Willard Roosevelt FLUTE & FIDDLE written for 2 players: flutist with 5 flutes + violin/viola
flutes: pic, standard, alto, bass flute, and shakuhachi), plus violin and viola
J. Willard Roosevelt PAUL REVERE'S RIDE solo flute
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J. Willard Roosevelt JUDGEMENT OF PARIS flute/alto flute, optional mime
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J. Willard Roosevelt SONATA for VIOLIN and PIANO vln,pf
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J. Willard Roosevelt TWO SONGS on poems of Lloyd Frankenberg sop,pf
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J. Willard Roosevelt TO E.E. med voice, pf
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Additional Works