Born in Havana, Cuba, October 3, 1938, Bernardo is the son of Jose Bernardo and Raquel Perez. He studied at the Havana Conservatory, Cuba, where he received a Bachelors of Music in 1958. He attended Miami University in Florida where he received a Masters in Music in 1969. He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1972. An architect, playwright, composer, and writer, Bernardo was a planner for the Havana City Hall, Cuba, in 1959. After moving to the United States, he was an architect of Harrison and Abramovitz, 1964-1967, the vice-president of Museum Planning Incorporated, 1967-69, and an architect of Joyner/Bernardo, 1969 until the present.
Of his musical accomplishments, he wrote an opera, ‘‘La Nina de Guatemala’’, in 1974, a work based on the poem by the same name of the Cuban poet and patriot Jose Marti. He also wrote ‘‘Sonata for Amplified Piano’’ and ‘‘Canciones Negras’’ in 1973 and published Poemas Misticos in 1979. He composed the operas ‘‘Something for the Palace’’ in 1981 and ‘‘Unavoidable Consequences’’ in 1983. Yet, perhaps his most significant work in opera is "The Child," first produced in 1974 and the antecedent for Bernardo's historical novel Silent Wing. He was the Composer-in-Residence at the Cent City Opera, Denver, Colorado, during the summer of 1981. He also wrote ‘‘That Night of Love’’ for the film score for the movie Fat Chance. Bernardo received awards in the form of production grants for his work on ‘‘The Child’’ as early as 1974. He is a member of the National Opera Institute and the New York Council on the Arts and American Music Center. He was made Honorary Citizen of Guatemala in 1975.
Perhaps the events in Cuba during 1957-1958, at the time Bernardo was completing his bachelor's degree, made an impact on him. Fidel Castro had emerged as a rebel leader in opposition to the Batista movement. When Castro forces fought Batista's army and took Santiago on January 2, 1959, the war ended. Warcrimes trials followed in which 600...
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