J. Willard Roosevelt

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Biography: 

Grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, 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.  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.

ACA List for J. Willard Roosevelt

1 AMISTAD, danza moderna(Homenaje al gran Morel-Campos) (1960)
orch:2/pic-2-2-2,4-2-3-1,pf,4perc,str
2 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
3 AUTUMN SONG ON PERRY STREET (1975)
soprano, clarinet
4 BAND PIECE 1 (1979)
school band
5 BAND PIECE NO. 2 (1979)
For school band
6 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
7 CONCERTO for Pf & Orch (1983)
pf & orch:2-2-2-2, 2-1-1-0,perc,str
8 DANCE SUITE (1982)
pf
10 FLUTE & FIDDLE (1975)
duos for two players with various instruments
pic, standard, alto, bass flute, and shakuhachi, plus violin and viola

rooseveltfluteandfiddle_ex.mp3

Flute & Fiddle_1st movement
11 FLUTE AND FIDDLE (1975)

rooseveltfluteandfiddleexcerpt.mp3

Excerpt - Flute and Fiddle
12 FOUR SONGS (1975)
sop & cl(A)
13 HUMAN FLY, THE (1973)
med voice, pf
14 JUDGEMENT OF PARIS, THE (1975)
fl/al fl, optional mime
16 THE LEADEN & THE GOLDEN ECHO (1957)
reciter,pf
17 MAGGY & MILLY & MOLLY & MAY
voice, piano
18 MAY SONG IT FLOURISH (1960)
sop,msop,bar,cham orch: 1/pic-1-1-1,2-1-1-0,2perc,str

maysongitflourish_ex.mp3

Excerpt - May Song It Flourish
19 A PAPER ROSE
Soprano and Clarinet in A
20 PAUL REVERE'S RIDE (1975)
fl,opt mime
21 SERENADE (1955)
ob,vla,vcl
22 SHORT SUITE (1982)
ob,cl,bsn

rooseveltshortsuite_01march.mp3

Short Suite, 1st mov - March
23 SONATA for CELLO and PIANO (1953)
vcl,pf

sonata.mp3

Roosevelt - Sonata for Cello and Piano Excerpt
24 SONATA for VIOLIN and PIANO (1953)
vln,pf
27 SONG & DANCE SUITE (1975)
ob,cl,vla
28 STRING QUARTET
str qrt
29 SUITE (1963)
pf
30 SUITE FOR VIOLA (1963)
vla
31 SUITE, for Ob,Bsn & Strs (1959)
ob,bsn & str
32 THREE SONGS FROM POE (1977)
sop,cl,pf
33 TO E.E. (1973)
med voice, pf
34 TRIO (1952)
cl,vcl,pf
35 TWO SONGS (1967)
sop,pf
36 TWO SONGS (1967)
sop,pf

roosevelttwosongs_cummings_01maggiemolliemollymay.mp3

Two Songs - Maggie & Millie & Molly & May
37 WALTZ (1978)
fl & pf, OR cl & pf
38 WAR IS KIND(Our Dead Brothers Bid Us Think of Life) (1976)
speaker,sop,ob,pf,str qrt

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