Singers Melanie DeMore, Phyllis Addison,
Sonya Heller and flautist Viviana Guzman

The Psalms of RA - An oratorio in two acts for fifty singers and instrumentalists, set to ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Hebrew texts. Adaptable to musical theatre. Initially released as a double CD set recorded at Skywalker Sound. Includes many chamber works, such as woodwind quartets and string quintets, that can be independently performed. Sections were performed in 2002 at the Sowden House, Hollywood, and the Jon Sims Center for the Arts and the Englander House, San Francisco. Expanded orchestrations of “Psalm 104” and “Blue Star” were premiered by the San Jose
Chamber Orchestra in 2004.
For more information visit the Psalms of RA website


Takashi Tanemori, Hiroshima survivor

The First Light - Work-in-progress - A two act musical about war and the
nuclear age, woven around the life story of a Hiroshima survivor. Songs from “The First Light” were performed at the Peace Museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1999, the Randall Museum in San Francisco in 2000, and the Englander House in San Francisco in 2002.
More info...


Rodnie Nelson

The Celestial Trilogy - Three art songs for high baritone or tenor, accompanied by piano with optional flute or oboe part. Includes “The Moonbone” (Australian Aboriginal text), “The Hymn to the Sun” (Ancient Egyptian text), and “The Living Ketzalkoatl” (to Venus as the Morning and Evening Star - text by DH Lawrence from his book, “The Plumed Serpent”). All three texts are sung in English. Performed by tenor Rodnie Nelson at numerous concerts between 1996 and 1999 in New York City, Seattle, Portland and Santa Monica, CA.



Fanfare to the Sun - A short work for brass quintet that was originally written for “Songs of Forgotten Relatives” (see below). Performed by the New Mexico Brass Quintet in 1983 at a concert of the Composers Society of Santa Fe.


Keith Sklower and
Jim Berenholtz

Sonata #1 for Oboe and Piano - Work-in-Progress - A three movement composition in a contemporary classical/jazz crossover style. Sketches for the first two movements were perfomed by the composer with oboist Keith Sklower at the Presidio Chapel new music concert series in San Francisco in 1998.



Masked dancers in "Luna"

Luna - A five movement astrological ballet/ritual dance drama choreographed by Rosalind Schrodt. Scored for a chamber ensemble of twenty, including native winds, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, piano and singers. Performed in 1982 at the Santa Fe Armory for the Arts and the Taos Community Auditorium, New Mexico.




Jim Berenholtz and Viviana Guzman

Buffalo Nation - A two act, full-length opera on a Native American theme, with a cast of sixteen singers, plus musicians. Performed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1979, at the Indigenous People’s Theatre Celebration in Toronto, Canada in 1980, and at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre in 1991. Parts of the opera have been scored for symphony orchestra, including a fifteen minute “concerto” for Native American flutes, classical flute and orchestra entitled “First People/Last Stand”. Performed by the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra (Montana) in 2002, and the Diablo Symphony (California) in 2003. More info...



Songs of Forgotten Relatives

Dancers and musicians in "The Desert" movement

- A musical play in eight movements, where the musicians are the actors onstage, playing various characters with all their parts memorized. Scored for fifty instrumentalists, singers and dancers.As an eco-indigenous world music extravaganza that combines symphonic and native instruments with a cross-cultural array of singing styles, each movement has its own specially created language. These movements are “The Four Rivers”, “The Ocean”, “The Forest”, “The Grassland”, “The Desert”, “The Mountain”, “The Sky”, and “The Four Winds”. Premiered in 1980 at Amherst
College, Massachusetts.


The cast of "Songs of the Four Directions"

Songs of the Four Directions - A musical with dialogue and song written for four singer/actors. Designed as a mystical journey of Native American prophecy and mythology, this show later evolved into the composer’s first published book, “Journey to the Four Directions” (Bear & Co., 1993). It was performed in Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1982.



Tour Bus - Work-in-progress - A musical theatre political satire set in the fictional land of Manahaya. Based on the story of the first foreigners to enter a native community that has been opened to tourism. Can be done onstage or as dinner theatre. The musical style falls somewhere in between a 1930’s Broadway musical, salsa and cabaret.



Members of Grupo Chaarip with Jim Berenholtz

17th Street - A multi-media, “Omnistic” mini-ballet scored for a chamber ensemble of a dozen instrumentalists, two opera singers and three traditional Amazonian musicians. Performed at the National Academy of Sciences’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California in 1992.






In addition to the above works, Mr. Berenholtz has contributed original music to the following productions:

Minimata - A daringly unconventional work of eco-political theatre by the late writer/director Reza Abdoh, performed at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre in 1989.

Skeleton Dance - An experimental musical theatre production by writer/director Shishir Kurup, performed at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre’s New Works Festival in 1991.

Mythic Figures - A series of theatrical dance rituals by choreographer Andrea Siedel, presented at the Santa Fe Armory for the Arts in 1983.

Tisa - A theatrical dance myth by choreographer Marjorie Malone, presented at the Taos Community Auditorium in 1984.


Aside from the performance of his larger works, Mr. Berenholtz has also appeared in concert as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians. He has been seen from Egypt to Brazil, Hungary to Costa Rica, and across the United States at countless arts centers, universities, theatres, churches, galleries, etc. Examples of such appearances include:

Presidio Chapel, San Francisco, CA (1998) - New Music Concert Series - Original works by Jim Berenholtz, Sonya Heller and Phyllis Addison for voice, piano, guitar and oboe.

JFK University, Oakland, CA. (1988) - Arts and Consciousness Program - “Music for Spiritual Awakening” - Original music by Jim Berenholtz and singer/harpist Ani Williams.

East End Loft, Northampton, MA. (1980) - “Creative Music for the ‘80’s” - Improvisations with Jim Berenholtz, piano and Larry Chernikoff, vibraphone.

Finally, some reviews of Jim Berenholtz’s music:

About “Luna” (1982) :

“The most impressive part of the evening, undoubtedly, was the music by the very gifted composer Jim Berenholtz. It was varied, inventive, apt, fluent, polished, displaying a strong rhythmic sense and melodic feeling, as well as a tremendous knowledge of non-western musical cultures. A llama toenail rattle, quena, guiro, clay flutes, teponaztli, charango, conch, ocarina, samponia, khaen, flexitone, dumbek, tablas, and assorted drums were used with as much skill and feeling as were voices, more conventional wind instruments, and an absolutely magnificent cello piece . . . That this composer is still several years shy of 30 gives but a tiny indication of the goodies we can expect to come! That he is a young man to watch, and more germane, to listen to, cannot be doubted.”
- Joanne Forman for The Taos News

“Luna’s strength lay in it’s exciting musical score written by 25 year-old Jim Berenholtz, and performed by 20 able and adventuresome musicians. Traditional western sounds of piano, brass, woodwind and percussion were brilliantly fused with an amazing array of exotic, non-western instruments. . . . With the help of a dynamic group of singers, the composer also made strong use of the rich variety in the human voice.”
- Nicolle Plett for The New Mexican


About “Fanfare to the Sun” (1983):
“ .. An interesting piece for sheer sound pleasure; a confident, arousing bit of work on the part of Mr. Berenholtz.”
- Kevin A. Zoernig for Santa Fe News and Review

“. . The music hinted at flowing spaciousness, the sort of music that demands you close your eyes to appreciate it.”
- Michael J. Carroll for The Santa Fe Reporter


Conductor Mary Chun

About “The Psalms of RA” (2003)
“I have worked closely with Jim over the last several years on his 2 CD set of compositions, ‘The Psalms of RA’, as Music Director and Orchestra Conductor. Jim possesses an excellent command of his craft as a composer, and his creative output is impressive in scope and ranges from original classical concert music to world music to musical theater to grand opera. What makes his work stand out is his gift to create an all-inclusive musical language employing his ethnomusicological research in combination with a keen social awareness for all cultures and people.”
- Mary Chun, conductor


"The music composed and the artists performing on this CD were truly inspired by the Muses. It is a CD that will go down in musical history as one of the greatest. It is a CD that is enjoyable from beginning to end, and one that you will put on and never want to take off."
- Kenneth Bergman, online CD buyer