Tree Ride

“a beautifully textured, lush evocation of John Muir’s Yosemite that was full of color and light” (Daily Gazette, NY)

“a whirlwind of thick orchestral textures…definitely establishing his own voice…” (SF Examiner)

“impressive…showing a mastery of orchestral technique,” also stating “your analogy to natural forces was done very well, your thunderstorm basically better than the Pastoral.” ~ composer, John Adams

San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Conducted by Scott Sandmeier (2013).  Inspired by John Muir’s essay ‘Wind-storm in the Forests of the Yuba.’

Here once stood a beautiful tree

setting on an anon. found text.

Camille Sherman, mezzo-soprano

Lisa Lipton, clarinet.



“a gifted melodist…a beautiful blend of natural and human-made music” (Artslandia)

Commissioned and premiered by Third Angle New Music Ensemble (2014). Scored for Flute/Picc., Violin and pre-recorded soundscape.

Night Psalm

for solo flute. Performed by Molly Barth. An homage to the Hermit Thrush.

Soundscape recorded in Siskiyou National Forest by Justin Ralls.

Of Wolves and Rivers

for flute, violin, cello, and percussion and pre-recorded soundscape. Premiered by Cadillac Moon Ensemble.

Yellowstone soundscape recorded by Dr. Bernie Krause.

I Dream of You

feat. soprano, Esteli Gomez.

Text adapted from Malcolm Margolin’s The Ohlone Way


Rehearsed reading by Roomful of Teeth, Brad Wells dir. at the University of Oregon, 2015.

For 8 solo voices. Choral fantasia inspired by a musical motive of the Veery, slowed down 10x.


Commissioned and premiered by Third Angle Ensemble, Conducted by Justin Ralls (2012).  Scored for Flute, Violin, Cello, Piano, Electric Guitar, Percussion, and pre-recorded soundscape. 


for solo trumpet and soundscape track. Performed and recorded by Aaron Kahn, trumpet.

Rivers & Trails (excerpt)

for solo piano. Commissioned by Landscape Composers Network. Premiered by Jonathan Ensminger.

Tree-Wavings (excerpt)

for string quartet. Performed by Fear No Music Ensemble.

Visages of the Amazon (excerpt)

for string orchestra and percussion quartet.



for percussion quartet and pre-recorded soundscape. Soundscapes recorded by Justin Ralls in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest.

Performed by University of Oregon Percussion Ensemble.

Moon Learns to Sing Over the Waters of Death and New Creation

for Balinese Gamelan, Trumpet, Strings and Percussion.

Feat. Aaron Kahn, trumpet. Crystal Chu Sharp, percussion,

Pacific Rim Gamelan, Robert Kyr dir. University of Oregon.

feat. the vanishing soundscape, Dawn Chorus in Taman Negara, Malaysia

Soundscape recorded by Marc Anderson.


Songs and Dreams (soundscape composition)

Electronic fixed media, pre-recorded soundscape, pre-recorded soprano (Esteli Gomez), theremin.

When Strange Birds Passing Meet (soundscape composition)

Electronic fixed media, pre-recorded soundscape.

Coyotes, Plane overflight

Recorded at 5 a.m. in Echo Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story

Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story
Libretto by Rose Ann Abrahamson
Music by Hovia Edwards and Justin Ralls

A new opera based on oral histories of Sacajawea’s Agai-Dika familial descendants as well as the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Rose Ann Abrahamson is the great-great-grandniece of Sacajawea through Sacajawea’s brother, Cameahwait.

Sung in Aqai-Dika/Lemhi-Shoshone, Québécois French, English, and also including Native American Sign Language (with English subtitles).

Commissioned and Produced by Opera Theater Oregon and presented at the Hampton Opera Center’s Hinckley Theater, May 13-14, 2023, with Production support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights Award.

(in order of appearance)
SACAJAWEA Marion Newman

In Search of the Stars

Film by Sriram Murali
Music by Justin Ralls

Olmsted 200: Theme and Variations

Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera, “We are Restored in Beauty…”

“We are restored in beauty duet” and final ariosos from Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera. Produced by Opera Theater Oregon, Sept. 16, 2017. Featuring Aaron Short and Nicholas Meyer. Justin Ralls, conductor. Details of the project with synopsis and program notes may be found at Opera Theater Oregon.

Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera, “I feel bully…”

Opening scene from Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera. Produced by Opera Theater Oregon, Sept. 16, 2017. Featuring Aaron Short and Nicholas Meyer. Justin Ralls, conductor.  Details of the project with synopsis and program notes may be found on the Writings page of this website.

Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera, “Roosevelt’s Soliloquy”

Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera. Music and Libretto by Justin Ralls. Produced by Opera Theater Oregon. Aaron Short as Theodore Roosevelt. Conducted by Justin Ralls.

Three Songs: Reflections of Love, Loss, Beauty and Nature 

Texts by Val Mallinson and Susan Griffin.

Saori DeBruyn, soprano. Nathalie Fortin, piano. Carol Robes, clarinet.

Winner of Eugene Opera’s 2020 Songs of Quarantine series.

Tree Ride

Premiered by San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Scott Sandmeier, conducting. September 29-30, 2013. Inspired by John Muir’s essay ‘Wind storm in the forest of the Yuba.’

Of Wolves and Rivers

Premiered at the Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, NY September 9, 2016 by Cadillac Moon Ensemble, in collaboration with Landscape Music Composers Network, Nell Shaw Cohen Dir. Scored for flute, violin, cello and percussion.

Night Psalm

Molly Barth, Flute. An homage to the song of the Hermit Thrush.