From Anchorage to Banff

A few summers ago, my husband and I took the long drive from California to Alaska, returning home to California through Canada, – covering some 8,000 miles of gorgeous landscapes that will forever be engraved into my memory.

I remember endless lily-covered lakes while driving through Canada on a mad dash to Prince Rupert in order to catch the marine highway to Haines. That was followed by three days afloat through Alaska’s Inner Passage. The world seemed hushed on this magical voyage, only surrounded by mountains, glaciers, sea-life, and birds. Our journey continued over the Alaskan Highway through desolate landscapes, which I didn’t believe could be topped until reaching the Canadian Yukon on the way back south. After spending some time to recover in the quaint Alaskan town of Homer, and flying around in a friend’s plane to catch it all from above, it was time to start the long drive back south.

For this part of the trip we had invited our good friend Luciane Cardassi to join us. She and I had met in San Diego a few years earlier, when she was studying for her doctorate in contemporary music, and where we had started talks about doing a concert together. Since then, she had moved back to her home country, Brazil, but right around the time that my husband and I organized our trip north, she had arranged an artist residency at the Banff center in Canada. Since Banff was on our route back south and, as far as I’m concerned, there’s really no better place to discuss music, than by being “on the road” I suggested to her that she divert her flight back from São Paulo so that she would end up in Anchorage. At the scale of traveling she was about to undertake, a few thousand miles more or less would not matter much. Luciane, being as adventurous as we were, jumped at the chance, and a few weeks later we began another unforgettable part of our journey.

And yes, we did organize some concerts together. Below is a recording of Gabriel Faure’s “Les Berceaux” which we performed at the University of California in San Diego. The images are from our trip back from Alaska together, a trip that puts a smile on my face every time I think of it and that I will treasure forever.

Luciane now lives in Canada, where she is a noted performer of new music who regularly premiers works by a diverse, international group of emerging and established composers.