Carmleo Alonso Bernaola was born on July 16, 1929 in Ochandiano, Vizcaya, Spain. At seven years of age, his family moved to Medina de Pomar (Burgos), where he began his first musical studies. In 1943, when he was fourteen years old, he moved to Burgos, where he was taught by Professor White, getting to play in the Band of the Engineering Academy. In 1951 he moved to Madrid where he continued his studies at the Conservatory, studying under E. Masso, Francisco Pina Calés and Julio Gomez. In 1957 Carmelo obtained a grant from the Carmen River Foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts which allowed him to study composition. Two years later, in 1959, he received another grant to continue his music courses taught in Santiago de Compostela, and in the same year, he moved to Rome where he studied at the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts, studying under Goffredo Petrassi, Sergiu Celebidache and Bruno Maderna. In the Italian Capital he was awarded the Rome Prize, in the category of Spanish Section. Back in Spain he studied with André Jolivet and virtuoso Alexander Tansman, returning to Madrid, where he held the position of clarinet in the municipal band. He was also professor of harmony at the Conservatory of Madrid and, since 1981, director of the School of Music Jesus Guridi of Vitoria, a position he held until 1991.
Bernaola composed music for the theater and television series of Fernando Fernan Gomez ‘El pícaro’, the famous TV series by José Luis Balbin ‘Verano azul’ and several films including his only Euro-western score for “Cut-Throats Nine” (1970)
Carmelo died of cancer on June 5, 2002 in Madrid, Spain.
Today we remember Carmelo Bernaola on what would have been his 85th birthday.