In 1995, at the age of 12, Juantio Becenti began his composing career. After one and one half years taking piano lessons once a week, he requested that his piano teacher teach him theory. After having been told that he wouldn’t need it, Juantio taught himself eurocentric classical theory from old books in his school library. Now 17, he is a senior at Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah.
His first composition, “The Hovenweep Sonata,” was handwritten at Hovenweep National Monument as he walked the trails and canyons during the four seasons with Sonja Horoshko, Artist-in-Residence in 1995-96. With the only available piano 45 miles away in Cortez, Colorado, Becenti continued writing relentlessly, working on structure, movement, form, and authenticity of content. His native Navajo landscape provides a rich, evocative source of narrative subtly underpinning his musical work. For six weeks during the summer of 2000, Becenti attended Walden School, a community of composers, on full scholarship. Becenti’s vast body of work continues to expand. He is constantly addressing the responsibility of the musical language which he feels is universally available to everyone regardless of the "other place"—other culture of one's birth and progeny. Recently, the Phoenix String Quartet performed his second String Quartet.