DARRYL HILL'S ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Tour pro and talented pianist Darryl Hill has released a piece of music for the first time.
The classical piece, called The Hills, was composed by Hill with his mum Jane, and played by the world number 98 himself. It is now available for download.
After a promising debut season in 2015/16, Hill won World Snooker's Rookie of the Year award. And the 20-year-old from the Isle of Man is now proving that his talents extend from the green baize to the ivories.
''There was always music in the house when I was growing up,'' explains the former European under-21 champion. ''My mum is a musician – she teaches as well as playing in our island's swing band. I started playing the piano at an early age and continued at school. We used to sing hymns during assembly – which I hated – and the music just came from a CD. So when I was nine I asked the head teacher if I could play the piano which was sitting there in the hall. He agreed so I would play for the school. ''I have kept it going ever since. I don't get that much time now because the snooker schedule is so busy, but it's a perfect way to shut the door, relax and get away from everything else. If I have missed a few balls then people know where to find me afterwards. I'm sure there is some connection between snooker and playing the piano because they both require good hand-eye co-ordination as well as concentration and the ability to think ahead.
''I generally play classical music with a bit of pop by the likes of Elton John and Billy Joel. It's a shame that no one writes music like that on the pop scene these days. My favourite composer is an Italian called Ludovico Einaudi. My mum and I went to see one of his concerts and in fact that's when we decided to have a go at writing our own music.
''My mum came up with the initial melody and then I built on it with my own. She tends to write the music while my method is to hear something, remember it and then play it. We both had our own ideas – and occasional disagreements of course – but it all came together well. Once it was finished I put it on my Facebook page and the reaction was very good. That's when we decided to get it recorded and released. We went into a studio to record the piece which was a great experience because I had never seen how records are mixed and made before.
''The local media on the island has been very receptive, particularly Manx Radio, and I've even had a couple of mentions on Classic FM as they like the idea of a snooker player writing music. I'm really just doing it as a hobby and it will be great to have my music out there for other people to listen to and hopefully enjoy. We already have another piece written but we'll see how this one goes first.'' Hill has experienced a tough second season on the pro tour, and though he got to the last 32 of the Coral Shoot Out last month, he knows that only a good run in the Betfred World Championship will rescue him from relegation from the circuit.
''I have really enjoyed my two years as a pro and I want to keep playing,'' said Hill, who works for two hours most mornings at the Mann Cat Sanctuary. ''This season has not gone as well as my debut season though I still hope I can do well in the World Championship. If not I'll be heading for Q School. I'm only 20 and there are players winning their first ranking title in their 40s now so I've got plenty of time ahead of me.''
And if he does qualify for the Crucible, choosing his walk-on music will be an easy decision….