FOR a world-famous musician Robin Hill is a quiet, modest man whose life has always been about the music.

Yet, his admirers include the legendary names that litter the annals of pop and classical music over the last four decades.

Robin was born in Huddersfield but his family moved to Bolton when he was a baby with his father’s engineering job. Although neither of his parents played a musical instrument, they both had a huge appreciation of classical music.

Robin grew up in Heaton and went to Markland Hill Primary School before attending Bolton School Juniors. He started playing the violin at seven but his attention was quickly taken by another instrument: the guitar.

“It was the time of the Beatles and I wanted to be in a pop group so I tended to play the violin like a guitar!” he recalled, laughing. Although he continued with the violin, becoming leader of the school’s junior orchestra, his supportive parents bought him a classical guitar kickstarting a love-affair with the instrument which changed his life.

At 17, he studied guitar full-time at Huddersfield College of Music. “I could practise all the time here so I did,” he said.

He took lessons from a variety of influential tutors and was much influenced himself by classical guitarist Segovia. In fact, he formed a guitar duo with fellow student Peter Wiltschinsky.

This successful partnership ultimately lasted for 35 years. The pair made more than 40 albums on a variety of prestigious labels and played everywhere from Italy, Germany and North and South America to Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

However, his career always straddled pop and classical music and he also played in a variety of local bands.

In his 20s, he was asked to help provide backing for a visiting American singer who was performing at Blighty’s nightclub in Farnworth.

“I’d never heard of Frankie Laine but when I saw the music for ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Mule Train’ I realised that he was famous,” stated Robin.

The talented young musician began session work at Blighty’s and Park Hall, working with famous singers of the day like Matt Monroe, Madeleine Bell, Marti Caine and even for comedians Morecambe and Wise.

He also caught the eye of American trumpeter Paul Griffin who was putting together a new 10-piece jazz/rock band, Force 10. Robin joined them, writing a variety of music for the group when they were offered a recording contract.

Although Force 10 did not work out, Robin toured with Madeleine Bell - already a big name in the UK thanks to Blue Mink’s success - and his reputation grew. His versatility meant he could play classical guitar or electric and he did regular session work.

He was asked to auditon for heavy metal band Deep Purple, who urgently needed a replacement guitarist.

He did, they liked him and he played with them for around nine months “although they were really very wealthy and successful by then and didn’t need to tour. But it was an interesting experience,” said Robin in his understated way.

He also played briefly with another famous group, Jethro Tull, and through these contacts recorded at the home of one of his icon’s, George Harrison, where he played George’s electronic sitar. “George was a very quiet, thoughtful man who really understood music,” he added.

Robin was, though, never far from his classical roots and he also performed with international flautist Atarah Ben Tovim, tenor Russell Watson, soprano Lesley Garrett and operatic giant Luciano Pavarotti. “He spoke only in a whisper, no English, and communicated through his music manager,” said Robin.

Over the years, Robin taught himself to also play piano, percussion and harmonica and has written and arranged hundreds of pieces of music.

His Heaton home is crammed with his CDs and records and, at 64, he is still busy working on various projects, writing as well as performing solo at concerts and on cruise ships.

He is married to Anna and the couple have two sons, Oliver, now 21 and studying film-making and Felix, 15, a talented footballer. Both, to Robin’s delight, have more recently taken up the guitar.

Give Robin a guitar to hold, and his fingers automatically start playing complex riffs, dancing over the strings.

He continues to practise every day and says “there is always something to learn, to improve on.”

And for Robin Hill, guitarist extraordinaire, he is then soon lost in the world of making fabulous music – just because he loves it.