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Joseph Willard Roosevelt (January 16, 1918 – May 18, 2008) was an American pianist and composer.


He was the second son of Kermit Roosevelt and Belle Wyatt Willard. His paternal grandparents were U.S. President Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. and First Lady Edith Kermit Carow.

Roosevelt attended, like several of his family members, Groton School and Harvard University and studied piano with Nadia Boulanger in France.

He served in the Pacific during World War II. He was commissioned in the Naval Reserve on August 19, 1940 and was promoted to lieutenant on March 1, 1943.[1] Later in the war, he served as captain of the USS Greene, (APD-36).[2] With the Greene he supported the invasion of southern France in August 1944 and later served on escort duties in the Pacific.

Joseph was first married to Nancy Thayer, daughter of E. E. Cummings and Elaine Orr.

He taught music at The Hartt School, Mannes College of Music, Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Longy School of Music.

Roosevelt's compositions are published by the American Composers Alliance and Merion Music.

Roosevelt died at the age of 90 on May 18, 2008.

Selected works[]

  • And the Walls Came Tumbling Down (1976); 1 act with libretto by Loften Mitchell
Orchestra / band
  • Amistad for orchestra (1960)
  • Band Piece No. 1 (1979)
  • Band Piece No. 2 (1979)
  • Concerto for cello and orchestra (1963)
  • Concerto for piano and orchestra
  • Suite for oboe, bassoon and string orchestra (1959)
Chamber / instrumental
  • Flute and Fiddle, 4 Duos for 5 flutes (bass, alto, standard, shakuhachi, piccolo) and 2 fiddles (violin, viola) (1975)
  • The Judgement of Paris for flute (also alto flute) and optional mime (1975)
  • Lament for Willie Thomas Jones for 4 cellos (1975)
  • The Leaden and the Golden Echo for reciter and piano (1957); text by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Paul Revere's Ride for flute solo and optional mime (1975)
  • Serenade for oboe, viola and cello (1955)
  • Short Suite for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1982)
  • Sonata for cello and piano (1953)
  • Sonata for violin and piano
  • Song and Dance Suite for oboe, clarinet and viola (1975)
  • String Quartet
  • Suite for viola solo (1963)
  • Trio for clarinet, cello and piano (1952)
  • Waltz for flute (or clarinet) and piano (1978)
  • Dance Suite (1982)
  • Sonata No. 1 in D major
  • Sonata No. 2 in B major
  • Suite (1963)
  • An American Sampler, 4 Songs for soprano, horn and piano (1976); words by Phyllis Wheatley, Edward Coote Pinkney, Philip Freneau, Charles F. Hoffman
  • Aria (Oh, Joshua) for voice and piano (1970); words by Loften Mitchell
  • Four Songs for soprano and clarinet (1975); words by Lloyd Frankenberg and E. E. Cummings
  • Five Songs for soprano and viola (1975); words by Lloyd Frankenberg and E. E. Cummings
  • Five Songs from Caleb for voice and piano (1990); words by Caleb Roosevelt
  • May Song It Flourish for Soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone and chamber orchestra (1960); words by James Joyce
  • Three Songs for baritone and piano (1991); words by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Three Songs from Poe for soprano, clarinet and piano (1977); words by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Two Songs for voice and piano (1967); words by E. E. Cummings
  • Two Songs for voice and piano (1973); words by Lloyd Frankenberg
  • War Is Kind (Our Dead Brother Bid Us Think of Life) for soprano, narrator, dancer and chamber orchestra (1976); words by Stephen Crane and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


  1. US Naval Reserve Register of Commissioned Officers. 1944. pg. 1103.
  2. New York Times, retrieved October 10, 2008.

External links[]

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