After the cycle dedicated to the North American writer Paul Bowles, CCB will consecrate two weeks of its programming to one of the greatest European writers of the second half of the 20th century: the Austrian Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989). One of the most controversial writers of his generation, Bernhard studied music and singing before dedicating himself exclusively to literature and writing for the theatre. His writing, musical and rigorous, reveals a critical conscience exacerbated by the vicissitudes of personal life.
In this cycle, his relationship with music will be raised, well expressed in works such as The Shipwreck and Wittgenstein’s Nephew, and the theatre, with readings of The President and the re-staging of The Theatre-Maker by the Almada Theatre for which the actor Morais e Castro won the Critic's Prize in 2004. His Portuguese translator, José António Palma Caetano, in a conference will raise Thomas Bernhard's relationship with Portugal and a Community of Readers will discuss aspects of his literary work in the Reading Room of CCB. To close the cycle, the conductor Michael Zilm will conduct the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon in a concert filled with music on which he wrote, namely, Mozart's Haffner Symphony.
The Thomas Bernhard exhibition organised by the Thomas Bernhard Private Foundation and the people connected with his life, will present aspects of the life and creation of the writer with the presentation of various originals of the author of Old Masters.
He was born in 1931 in Holland. He spent his childhood with maternal grandparents in Vienna. His grandfather was the writer Johannes Freumblicher, who would be the great reference of his life. In 1935 Bernhard moved with his grandparents to Seekirchen, close to Salzburg. He was educated in two boarding schools, one national-socialist and the other Catholic, which made a deep impression on him. His grandfather's death in 1949 and his mother’s in the following year affected the writer profoundly.
After his hospitalisation, due to tuberculosis which marked him, Bernhard arranged a job in a newspaper in Salzburg, at the same time that he began to write stories and poems. In 1957 his first book of poetry, On Earth and in Hell, was published, followed by other collections of poetry. Later, the author ventured writing prose and dramatic genre, publishing his first novel, Frost, in 1963 and his first play, A Party for Boris, premiered in 1970.
A controversial writer who dared to express controversial opinions in his many works, above all about his ambiguous relationship with Austria and the Austrians.