Canadian pianist Alain Lefèvre is a musical institution in his home province of Quebec. He is one of the best-selling classical artists in the province, and he has gained widespread attention for giving concerts for children in schools and hospitals: these have brought him into contact with some 250,000 children. Lefèvre was born in Poitiers, France on July 23, 1962 but grew up mostly in the Montreal area in Quebec. His father was a clarinetist, and other members of his family were musical. Lefèvre took his first lessons at age five, shortly after his family's move to Canada, and one brief year later he had already won the first of an eventual nine first prizes at the Canadian Music Competition, and given his debut recital at Quebec City's Grand Théâtre. At nine he won the Heintzman Musical Competition and was featured by the Montreal Star newspaper as a "star of tomorrow." Lefèvre demurred at characterizations of himself as a child prodigy, however, insisting in an interview quoted by the Canadian Encyclopedia that "nothing in my career was easy. I never was a 'skyrocket' pianist. Every step was tough." He returned to France for advanced studies, first with Jeanne-Marie Darré and Lucette Descaves, and then, from 1979 to 1983, at the Paris Conservatory with Pierre Sancan. After a 1980 first prize at the Concours International Alfred-Cortot in Milan, his career was launched. Lefèvre toured with Christian Ferras in 1982 and joined a major tribute concert to Ferras after that artist's suicide.