Gabriel Bianco, was born into a family of musicians and received an early start on the guitar, receiving lessons with his father at age 5. A few years later, in 1997, he began his studies in Paris with Ramon de Herrera at the Conservatoire National de Région, Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris (CNR-CSP). He went through it in 2005 with an unanimously first prize and congratulations. The same year, he received the highest rank in the entrance competition to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP), where he received the highest performance distinction under the teaching of Olivier Chassain. In addition, he attended master-classes with Roberto Aussel, Jose Luis Campana, Roland Dyens, Marcin Dylla, Edouardo Fernandez, Jérémy Jouve, Stephen Schmidt. Since 2005 he has also studied with French virtuoso Judicaël Perroy.

Gabriel Bianco has already won severals prizes in internationals competitions in Europe among which : 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Sernancelhe, Portugal (2005); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Ile de Ré, France (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Gitarre Forum Wien, Austria (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Tychy (Śląska Jesień Gitarowa), Poland (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition "Hubert Käppel" of Koblenz , Germany (2007). He also won 1st prize at the competition in Barbezieux, France. His most recent win at the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Competition (GFA) has earned him the coveted 50-concert tour in the USA, Mexico, and Canada with additional concerts in China, Colombia, and Brazil.

Stephanie Jones’ childhood resonated with the sound of music. From a young age, she played many instruments, including the piano, violin, viola, saxophone and the flute. But it was the guitar, with its captivating range of sounds and versatility, that especially appealed to her. It quickly became her first love. Stephanie is currently studying for a Masters degree in Classical Guitar Performance with Professor Thomas Müller-Pering at the prestigious University of Music Franz Liszt in Germany.

In 2017, Stephanie placed first in the Hannabach Guitar Competition and was a finalist in the Salzburg International Guitar Festival. In 2014, Stephanie was awarded the Australian Young Virtuoso of the Year in the Fine Music Network National Competition. Stephanie competed in the prestigious Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition in 2012 and won second prize.

In 2014, Stephanie graduated from the Australian National University (ANU) with First Class Honours, where she studied with Professor Timothy Kain. Following this, she was awarded a Friends of the School of Music Transition Scholarship to assist her in launching her album “Colours of Spain.” For this work, she was awarded the Clifford Hocking Scholarship at the Mount Beauty Music Festival, and was nominated for the Freedman Fellowship at the Music Trust. Stephanie was awarded an Australian Music Foundation Scholarship in 2015, which included a performance at Wigmore Hall in London. Stephanie has also completed her Diploma exam for the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music, her AMEB AMusA exam and LMusA Exam. For this, she was selected as winner of the JB Vincent Memorial Award in 2012. In 2013, Stephanie won a John Wallis Scholarship on behalf of the Canberra/Versailles Association, and the Friends of the School of Music Travel Grant to study with exceptional teachers and to perform throughout Spain and France. In 2010, Stephanie was awarded the Royal Schools Anniversary Scholarship and the Harmony Endowment Undergraduate Scholarship to study at the ANU.

Stephanie has performed extensively around the globe. Independently, she has toured Australia twice and in 2017 toured New Zealand. She has also toured Germany with the Weimar Guitar Quartet. She continues to travel regularly for both international concerts and invited festivals. Stephanie has released two albums, “Colours of Spain” (2015), and “Bach, the Fly, and the Microphone” (2009). Stephanie plays Hannabach Goldin strings on a Paul Sheridan guitar from 2012 and a Daniel Zucali guitar from 2015.

Allan Neave
Professor Allan Neave is the Head of the Guitar & Harp Department guitar at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and widely regarded as one of Europe’s foremost educators and promoters of the instrument. He has broadcast widely both in the UK and abroad, including Radio 3 and 4 broadcasts at the Edinburgh International Festival, performances of Schoenberg’s Serenade with the Hebrides Contemporary Music Ensemble for BBC Radio 3, the isle is full of noises on KFZAZ Radio USA, RadioSodre Uruguay and BBC Radio 3. He also gave the world’s 1st live Internet guitar concert broadcast in 1997.He has worked with many influential musicians, including Nikita Koshkin, Edward McGuire, Hans Werner Henze, Gordon McPherson and Stephen Dodgson, many of whose works he has premiered.

Uros Baric (1987, Postojna, Slovenia) is a guitarist performing classical music, latin, pop, fingerstyle and jazz. He holds a Master's Degree (Mag. art.) from Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, where he graduated with honors in 2011, in the class of world-renowned guitarist and internationally acclaimed teacher Alvaro Pierri. During his early studies he won several highest prizes in international competitions for young musicians, including the 1st prize at Concorso Europeo di Chitarra Classica »Città di Gorizia« in 2004 and the 2nd prize at Concorso Internazionale »Città di San Bartolomeo al mare« in 2005. Uros has played in many concerts in Slovenia, Austria, Italy and Slovakia and has given solo recitals at national music festivals like “Glasbena mladina ljubljanska” and international “Kras Guitar Festival” where he was invited to premiere Slovenian composer Peter Savli's piece “Waltz Fantasy”. In October 2008 he performed on a series of concerts for the festival “GM Oder”, including a solo recital in the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana, which was recorded by Radio Slovenija for the “Ars” programme. With a view of music as a universal means of expression, Uros sets no boundaries to the music he dedicates himself to. His classical repertoire embraces works of all epochs including contemporary compositions, and he is equally attracted to other musical styles like Pop, Jazz and Latin music.

Matthew McAllister is amongst Europes’ finest young guitarists. Since graduating with honours from RSAMD in 2003 he has been delighting audiences across the world with his thoughtful performances and effortless presentation. In addition to having toured extensively throughout North & South America, Europe and Asia both as soloist and chamber musician, Matthew has also produced an extensive discography with Natural Studio Records. Matthew’s live concert performances alongside his recordings with Natural Studio Records have appeared on British, Spanish, Malaysian, Turkish, Peruvian & Chilean TV and have featured on numerous radio broadcasts worldwide. Matthew holds the post of Classical Guitar Lecturer and Lecturer in Scottish Music History in the Music Faculty of the Unversity of St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland and also Lecturer in Guitar at both the Junior and Senior Schools of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Aisling Agnew

Aisling was born and raised in Belfast. She regularly performs around the UK and Ireland and has appeared in concert across Europe and America. Aisling’s performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio, RTE Lyric FM and Resonance FM and include many high profile concerts such as a Wigmore Hall chamber music recital. As concerto soloist she has appeared with various orchestras including the Ulster Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. She recently released her acclaimed debut album Recital with Natural Studio Records. Aisling studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with Richard Blake and David Nicholson where she followed masterclasses with players such as Jacques Zoon, Robert Dick, Wissam Boustany and Wilbert Hazelzet. In her third year she won a scholarship to the Lake Placid Institute for Arts in New York and in her final year she was selected to perform the Penderecki Concerto with the RSNO at the Henry Wood Hall in Glasgow; the first performance of this work given in Scotland. Aisling also holds a Masters degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where her studies were generously funded by awards from the Belfast Classical Music Bursaries and the BELB. Aisling has a keen interest in performing new music and working with composers. She has premièred works written specifically for her by Douglas Whates, Matt Rogers, Greg Caffrey and David Flynn and has enjoyed working with other composers such as Edward McGuire and David Fennessy.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart lectures at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Aberdeen City Music School and has previously taught at Aberdeen College of Music and Performing Arts. Peter performed for 16 years with Irish guitarist Tracey Boyd; they were endorsed as Savarez Artists and were highly praised by respected critics for their musically sensitive, emotive and stylish performances. The duo performed throughout the UK and Europe and broadcast for BBC Radio Scotland. Many works were dedicated to them; most notably a series of works composed by John W. Duarte and published by Mel Bay USA. During that period, Peter directed the Glasgow Classical Guitar Workshop and the very successful Oatridge International Guitar Festival. Peter’s success as a composer has been met with international critical acclaim and his music has been performed as far afield as the USA, South America and Russia. Many of his works have been commercially recorded by international artists including Alfonso Montes (Venezuela), Irina Kircher (Germany), Antonio De Innocentis (Italy) Matthew McAllister (UK) and Professor Allan Neave (UK); he is published by Guitar Score Publications (Scotland), Ricordi (England) and Chanterelle (Germany). Peter is also an adjudicator for Live Music Now – Wales, the Fife Music Festival and the Rago International Competition at the Stuttgart Musikschule, Germany.


The Island of Cumbrae is easily reached from the small town of Largs by making a short 10-minute ferry trip.

There are excellent transport connections to Largs from Glasgow. Largs is approximately one hour by road, rail, car or bus from Glasgow City Centre and 45 minutes from Glasgow International and Glasgow Prestwick airports.


Feel free to email or call if you want any more information about the Retreat.

+44(0)7910 471 486

Social Media

“As far as setting is concerned, Cumbrae’s Cathedral can most certainly be counted among the best that festivals worldwide have to offer.” 
Guy Traviss, Classical Guitar Magazine

“The retreat was truly a unique experience. The setting on this quaint little island with its lovely cathedral was unlike any other guitar gathering I have attended.” 
Janice Pena, Soundboard

CGR History

Aisling Agnew 
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Allan Neave
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2105, 2016, 2017, 2018
Amadeus Guitar Duo
2012, 2014, 2017
Amanda Cook
2009, 2013, 2016
Ana Vidovic
Antonio Rugolo
Bardic Trio
2016, 2017 
David Russell
2010, 2018
Debs Fruscella Duo
Gabriel Bianco
Gabriel Guillen
James Akers
Jan Depreter
Johannes Moller
Kupinski Guitar Duo
Matthew McAllister 
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Marcin Dylla
2012, 2015
Patrick Kearney
Peter Stewart 

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Rene Izquierdo
2016, 2018
Roland Dyens
Uros Baric

2016, 2017, 2018
Vladislav Blaha
Yvonne Zehner
2011, 2015