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Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet

Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet at the Rocky Mountain Power Labor Day Concert

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Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet

Posted on November 14, 2014 by Moab Music Festival

The World Premiere of Juantio Becenti’s Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet was performed on September  2014 at Swanny City Park in Moab, UT.

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Posted on October 20, 2014 by Laura Brown

Rehearsing Divertimento #4 before the composer arrived!

Jennifer Frautschi, violin

Jeremy Turner, cello

LP How, viola

Michael Barret, piano


Posted on August 26, 2014 by Moab Music Festival

Divertimento #4 is soon to be in rehearsal. So excited to hear Juantio’s new piece.


Composer Juantio Becenti was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Aneth, Utah (population 598). He began composing classical music at the age of 12 and taught himself Eurocentric classical theory, working on structure, movement, form, and authenticity. His belief that “musical language is available to everyone, regardless of the culture of one’s birth,” has driven him to create compositions which reflect both his experiences as a Native American, and also his deep love for music as a language for connection, belief, religion, identity, intuition, and family.

His first composition, the Hovenweep Sonata was inspired by the trails and canyons of Hovenweep National Monument. He received his first commission from the Moab Music Festival in 1998, when he was 15 years old.  He has since received commissions from Dawn Avery (Native American Composers Apprenticeship Program) and others. In 2013, the world premiere of Becenti’s original composition The Forest at Dawn was performed at the Moab Music Festival as part of the Wisdom of the Earth, a concert aimed at exploring contemporary compositions by living Native American composers, and compositions influenced by Native American culture from non-Native American composers. Additionally, his compositions have been performed by the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra, Dawn Avery and ETHEL, America’s premier post-classical string quartet. He has studied at the Walden School for Young Musicians, which he attended on full scholarship. He was the recipient of a grant from the First Nation’s Composers Initiative to create original music for the film Two Spirits, a documentary about the life and murder of Fred Martinez, a transgender teenager. Becenti, now 31, continues to compose and build his compositional repertoire while residing in the relative remote canyons of the Navajo reservation.

Inspired by the works of Beethoven, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich, Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet, commissioned by the Moab Music Festival, explores the apparent tension between consonance and dissonance and the realm of expressive potential found between the two, while also weaving an origin story of how music comes through a composer to be created, whether through the vast reservoir of inspiration of the universe, to the all-goodness of God. Keeping with the tradition of Ives, Becenti will echo quotes of music and text drawn from the rural soundscape of his home, and from his Southern Baptist background, juxtaposing it against the classic formulation of the piece.

Divertimento #4 for Piano Quartet by Juantio Becenti will be performed at Swanny City Park on September 1, 2014, at the Moab Music Festival’s Labor Day Family Picnic Concert, in conjunction with the 50th Birthday of Canyonlands National Park, in Moab, Utah.


Project Media

Hane (Story) for String Quartet (2000)
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Features: Juantio Becenti

Hané (Story) for String Quartet was written in 2000 at the Walden School of Music Dublin, NH. Originally performed by members of the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra.

Suite No. 1 for solo cello (2010)
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Features: Juantio Becenti

Commissioned by Dawn Avery for the North American Indian Cello Project and performed in 2010.

The Forest at Dawn (2013)
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The Forest at Dawn was commissioned for the Moab Music Festival as part of The Wisdom of the Earth, a program which received support from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Western States Arts Federation. The Forest at Dawn was performed at the Moab Music Festival on September 1, 2013, and featured Jennifer Frautschi (violin I), Arnaud Sussmann (violin II), Leslie Tomkins (viola), and Jay Campbell (cello).

Start and End Dates



Moab, Utah

3 updates
Last update on November 14, 2014

Project Created By

Moab, Utah
The Moab Music Festival was founded in 1992 by New York based musicians Michael Barrett (pianist / conductor) and Leslie Tomkins (viola). On a rare vacation, they both fell in love with the red rocks of Moab, and were inspired to combine the magical landscape with a sophisticated exhibition of world class musicians and music-making.…

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Music Director / Commissioner
Executive Director


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