Col Bernau is a a performing guitarist and music teacher, playing a variety of styles in a wide range of situations. He has worked with many well-known artists, ranging from Australian acts like Jade Hurley, Daryl Braithwaite, Simon Gallagher, Jackie Love and Normie Rowe in the cabaret and rock fields and Ricky May and Erroll Buddle in the jazz field, to international stars such as Al Martino and Thelma Houston. Col supported a broad variety of international and national artists, varying from B.B. King, Joe Cocker, Leo Sayer, the Pointer Sisters and Hot Chocolate to Renee Geyer, Split Enz, John Paul Young and Jon English.
Col started teaching guitar professionally in 1978, in his own studio and at various high schools and primary schools in the ACT. He completed his Diploma of Music (Jazz Studies) at the Canberra School of Music (ANU) in 1988, and taught classroom music Years 7-12 from 1990 to 2010 at Marist College Canberra. In 2010 he decided turn his teaching focus back to instrumental tuition.
He teaches most modern styles of guitar, from rock to country to jazz. Col also teaches mandolin and mandolin family instruments, tenor banjo, tenor guitar, Puerto Rican cuatro, cavaquinho and ukulele.
Col has also played in musical productions such as Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Grease, Chicago and many others. In 2003 he was principal mandolin in the Australian Ballet's production of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet".
Furthering his interest in mandolin, in 2005 Col and his wife Lea O’Brien formed COZMO (Capital of Australia Mandolinata), which performs regularly around Canberra. In 2014, they formed the Australis Ensemble, a 25 piece mandolin orchestra, involving top mandolin and guitar players from around Australia. Led by conductor Stephen Lalor, the ensemble toured six cities in Germany and performed at the BDZ Eurofestival in Bruchsal Germany, a four day international plucked string festival. Col has performed on mandolin with a variety of ensembles both in Australia and overseas.