José Raúl Bernardo
José Raúl Bernardo, a true "Renaissance man" was born in La Habana, Cuba on October 3, 1928. As a young man he studied piano, theory, solfege and composition and read avidly. His passion for art led him to study architecture. In 1959 the Cuban Revolution unseated Batista and Fidel Castro took over the government. The mayor heard Bernardo speak out against communism and advised him to leave the country or face probable consequences. Thus began Bernardo's exodus from Cuba and that of his family and friends. With a fellowship from Columbia University he completed a Master's degree in architecture magna cum laude and, ultimately earned his doctorate. During this time he was also writing poetry and composing music. Years later he authored novels that were published in many countries and translated into several languages. Among his musical compositions were concertos for piano, violin, viola and harpsichord; a symphony; miscellaneous chamber and solo works; two operas and several film scores. His deepest passion was composing music with that special Cuban Rhythm. After a long struggle with lymphoma, he succumbed on February 4, 2008.