Erling D. Bjerno is partly autodidact, and as a composer he debuted in 1961 with his Symphony No. 1. When the cabaret theatre Svalegangen opened in Aarhus in 1963, he was composer and pianist for that season. This opened Bjerno's eyes for musical drama, and since then he has composed music for many different theatres and written dramatic church music for various ensembles, choirs, soloists, and actors.

Bjerno is a qualified organist and between 1967 and 1996 he worked at Ansgar Church in Aalborg. At the same time he worked as a teacher at the Academy of Music of North Jutland. He is very engaged in the tension between lyrics and music, and his oeuvre clearly reflects his predilection for vocal music.

In addition to choral works, chamber music and music for educational, theatre, radio and television purposes he has also written symphonies, operas, oratorios, masses and cantatas.