Jun Miyake
The trumpeter remembers German dance giant Pina Bausch
By: Dan Grunebaum | Jun 21, 2012 | Issue: 952 | No Comments | 1,772 views

Courtesy of Interspace

Metropolis spoke with jazz trumpeter and composer Jun Miyake on the eve of his tribute to towering modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch. Miyake created music for Bausch’s often shocking later stage pieces, as well as for Wim Wenders’ recent Oscar-nominated 3D film Pina. Hugely influential in Japan, Bausch died suddenly of cancer in 2009.

How did you get to know Pina Bausch and what was your first impression?

I was introduced to Pina’s work in the late ’80s through her first film Die Klage Der Kaiserin. I thought it was incredibly edgy. It took me some time to see her stage pieces, as I wasn’t a dance fan, but as soon as I saw her work I was blown away. In 2004, her music director asked me for tracks for a new piece. Soon after, the company came to Japan for a performance and I met Pina for the first time. Pina was very quiet: never too many words, but all-seeing eyes.

Tell us about your collaboration.

Pina worked without music until the last moment. Artists who contributed didn’t know their music was going to be used until the premier. As I got closer to Pina, I proposed getting more involved. She liked the idea but couldn’t figure out how. I asked her to send me a rehearsal video but she couldn’t do it as things were changing every moment. Instead she started to give me keywords such as “in sorrow but smiling” or “30 dancers are running as fast as they can.” So I used my imagination. Pina’s feedback was always simple: Yes or no.

What was special about working with her?

Her pieces themselves. I was always surprised how the body language could pull out another side of my music.

What is Pina Bausch’s greatest legacy in your mind?

Working with her, I learnt so much about different kinds of beauty and expressions. We shared the feeling that there are so many kinds of emotions that cannot be put into words.

Tell us how you got involved in the Wim Wenders film.

Simply because I worked with Pina. I only met Wim when he was about to finish the film. He invited me to Wuppertal for a special screening. For the dancers, it was the moment to find out how much of their scenes were left in the edit, and for Wim it was finding out how the film was accepted by them. Afterwards, we had an interview with Rolling Stone. It was great to get a sense of how important music is to him and his huge respect for Pina.

What was foremost in your mind in planning the upcoming tribute concert?

To dedicate my music to Pina. June 30 means a lot to me, and the theater is the one Pina always used. We thought of inviting her dancers but they are performing in London. I thought of playing along to edited clips of performances, but I didn’t feel right selecting fragments. So we will be showing a film that features Pina herself dancing, then my music will follow simply as a concert.

What was Bausch’s impact in Japan?

I only know there are many hardcore fans who are completely addicted to Pina’s work, including me.

Tell us about being a Japanese musician in Paris.

I’m a composer who works for projects from many different countries. I still work for Japanese projects as well so I’m all over the planet. I chose Paris because it functions as a “world hub.” It’s so much easier to collaborate with artists I’d like to work with since they pass by here frequently.

Pina Bausch Tribute. Shinjuku Bunka Center, Jun 30 (listing).

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