Cello on His Back, Dane Johansen Treks Across Spain, Performing Bach Along the Way


Last summer, cellist Dane Johansen hiked 580 miles across the northern rim of Spain. His plan was to record the Bach Cello Suites in the churches that line the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago and turn the experience into a documentary.

"I figured if anyone happened to show up in the churches while I was playing, that would be OK," he said. "But I wasn't planning on doing public recitals."

The Spaniards had other ideas. When he got off the plane, Johansen discovered that his trek had been announced. "In town after town it was advertised as a concert," he said. "I got to the first church and discovered hundreds of people waiting."

Johansen, who will be the guest soloist at the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday night, was born in Fairbanks. He's the grandson of the late University of Alaska engineering professor Hendryx Woodrow "Woody" Johansen, for whom that town's Johansen Expressway is named. His father, Tony, was an engineer, his mother, Gail, a violin teacher. "I have three sisters, all violinists," he noted.