Portraits from the Wilderness
Born in Montreal in 1963 to a working-class family, Sylvain showed an interest in music at an early age: he would press his face up against the stereo, absorbing the sounds of Glenn Miller, Tchaikovsky and Mendlesohn. The family moved to Ontario seeking work when Sylvain was seven years old. There he underwent a true immersion experience, learning English in the context of a grade one public-school classroom. By the time he reached grade seven class, he had mastered his second language and was ready to learn a third: music. Under the guidance of his knowledgable and accessible teacher, he explored every available instrument; but the one with the strongest hold on him was the school piano. When he was fifteen years of age the Vallee Family purchased a good second-hand piano and Sylvain began playing and composing almost simultaneously. The works in this compilation represent compositions from his earliest period, largely inspired before he had undergone much fromal training; hence the title 'Innocent Beginnings'.