J. Willard Roosevelt

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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

1 AMERICAN SAMPLER (1976)
S, hn, pf

2 AMISTAD, danza moderna (Homenaje al gran Morel-Campos) (1960)
orch:2/pic-2-2-2,4-2-3-1,pf,4perc,str

3 AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN (1976)
Solo S, A, T, Bar, Bass; orch: 1/pic-1-2-1; 2-1-1-0; pf, perc; str

roosevelt_andthewalls_part1_excerpt.mp3

excerpt - Roosevelt - And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

4 AUTUMN SONG ON PERRY STREET (1975)
soprano, clarinet

5 BAND PIECE 1 (1979)
school band

6 BAND PIECE NO. 2 (1979)
For school band

7 CONCERTO FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA (1963)
vc, orch: pic-2-2-2-2; 4-2-3-1; timp; str

Cello Concerto by Willard Roosevelt - short excerpt, live performance

Cello Concerto by Willard Roosevelt - short excerpt, live performance

8 CONCERTO for Piano & Orch (1983)
pf & orch:2-2-2-2, 2-1-1-0,perc,str

9 DANCE SUITE (1982)
pf

11 FIVE SONGS FROM CALEB (1990)
Baritone, piano

12 FLUTE & FIDDLE (1975)
written for 2 players: flutist with 5 flutes + violin/viola
flutes: pic, standard, alto, bass flute, and shakuhachi), plus violin and viola

rooseveltfluteandfiddle_ex.mp3

Flute & Fiddle_1st movement

13 FOUR SONGS (1975)
sop & cl(A)

14 THE HUMAN FLY (1973)
med voice, pf

15 THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS (1975)
flute/alto flute, optional mime

17 THE LEADEN & THE GOLDEN ECHO (1957)
reciter,piano

19 MAY SONG IT FLOURISH (1960)
Sop,MzSop,Bar, cham orch: 1/pic-1-1-1,2-1-1-0,2perc,str

maysongitflourish_ex.mp3

Excerpt - May Song It Flourish

20 OH JOSHUA (aka ARIA) (1970)
high voice, piano

21 OUR DEAD BROTHERS BID US THINK OF LIFE (1976)
Sop, narrator, chamber ensemble (or piano)
Sop, male narrator, cham orch: 1-1-1-1; 1-1-1-0; pf, 2perc; str

22 A PAPER ROSE
Soprano and Clarinet in A

23 PAUL REVERE'S RIDE (1975)
solo flute

24 SERENADE (1955)
ob,vla,vcl

25 SHORT SUITE (1982)
ob, cl, bsn

rooseveltshortsuite_01march.mp3

Short Suite, 1st mov - March

26 SONATA for CELLO and PIANO (1953)
vcl,pf

sonata.mp3

Roosevelt - Sonata for Cello and Piano Excerpt

27 SONATA for VIOLIN and PIANO (1973)
vln,pf

30 SONG & DANCE SUITE (1975)
ob,cl,vla

31 STRING QUARTET (1977)
str qrt

32 SUITE FOR OBOE BASSOON AND STRINGS (1959)
oboe, bassoon, 5-part strings

33 SUITE FOR PIANO (1963)
pf

34 SUITE FOR VIOLA (1963)
vla

35 THREE SONGS FOR BARITONE AND PIANO (1991)
Baritone, piano

36 THREE SONGS FROM POE (1977)
Soprano, clarinet, piano

37 TO E.E. (1973)
med voice, pf

38 TRIO (1952)
cl, vcl, pf

39 TWO SONGS (1967)
sop,pf

roosevelttwosongs_cummings_01maggiemolliemollymay.mp3

Two Songs - Maggie & Millie & Molly & May

40 TWO SONGS (1973)
sop,pf

41 WALTZ (1978)
fl & pf, OR cl & pf

42 WAR IS KIND (chamber version of Our Dead Brothers Bid Us...) (1976)
speaker, sop, ob, pf, str qrt

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