Born in Otxandio (Vizcaya) in 1929, he is one of the Generation of 51’s most representative composers. After training as a clarinettist, he studied at the Madrid Royal Conservatory with Francisco Calés Otero and Julio Gómez, between 1951 and 1958. He won the Roma Prize, leading him to live in Italy for two years (1960-1962). During this era, he made contact with the European avant-garde in classes by Goffredo Petrassi and Bruno Maderna and discovered Sergiu Celibidache’s phenomenology of music. Returning to Madrid in 1962, he received the National Music Award. He premiered his orchestral work Espacios variados, the first attempt to combine intervallic serialism with the mobile or aleatoric form. Already known by critics, Bernaola premiered important works such as Heterofonías, Músicas de cámara, Relatividades and Impulsos. In the 60s, he also began to work as an audiovisual composer, creating more than a hundred soundtracks. He became involved in the liturgical reform promoted by the Second Vatican Council, writing works such as Negaciones de Pedro and Las siete últimas palabras de Jesús en la Cruz. He became director of the Jesús Guridi Music Conservatory in Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he would teach students such as Zuriñe F. Gerenabarrena, among others. This era produced notable works using quotations from and allusions to other music, such as Abestiak, Rondó, Clamores y Secuencias and Tiento. He completed two large projects in the 90s: the cantata Euskadi and the ballet La Celestina, which was premiered in 1998 in the re-opened Teatro Real. Tireless until the end, in 2001 he accepted a new commission from the Festival de Música y Danza de Granada, which became his last orchestral work: Fantasías. He died in Madrid on 5 June 2002 at 72 years of age.