Artist of the Week: Chris Laven

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Credit: Janani Gandhi

Chris Laven played the bass since he was four years old and continues to make the best out of his musical carrer. “[I really love] the the creative aspect of being a musician,” Laven said. “You can really create anything you want.”

Kyle Chen

If you make a trip to the music wing of Wayland High School during the school day, particularly to the practice rooms, you will likely find a tall, fiery-haired young man sitting on a chair, eyes intent on a music stand as his hands pluck and strum the grand, maple red instrument leaning against him.

Senior Chris Laven has been playing the double bass for nine years. He started his music career at the age of four. He tried various instruments, including the piano, violin, cello, and the drums, but found his true passion was for the bass.
“I really liked it because the sound [the bass made] was super low, and really versatile. To me, it was the coolest instrument, so I chose to do it,” Laven said.

Laven was born into a musical family where everyone played an instrument. His father and older brother are both cellists, and his mother plays the piccolo for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Laven is also pursuing a career path in music, his goal being to become a musician just like his parents and brother. “The big goal for me is to get into the Boston Symphony, following in the footsteps of my mom,” Laven said.

However, Laven doesn’t think his decision to pursue a music career is one that was fueled purely by the fact his whole family is involved in music. “People tell me, ‘You’re just following the family tradition,’ but for me, it’s yes, but no at the same time,” Laven said. He chose to go into this field because he truly has a passion for music.

A dedicated musician, Laven practices on a daily basis.. “The average [for one day] is around like two hours, maybe three,” Laven said. “I spread it out, so I’ll do like an hour to an hour and half [at a time].”

Laven is an active performer, both inside and outside of WHS and has numerous accomplishments that define his career. He is a member of the WHS Honors Sinfonia Orchestra, and participated in the Massachusetts Senior Districts Festival, where he was principal bassist for three consecutive years. He was also selected for the All-State Festival for three years. In 2015, he performed with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra, playing in New York’s Carnegie Hall as well as going on tour abroad in China. He was also featured on NPR’s From the Top, a program that showcases exceptional young artists from all around the country. Laven also was accepted to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, a premier summer program for high-school-age musicians all around the world, for the third time this year.

Even though Laven has gone a long way in his musical career, he has never forgotten what he truly loves about playing an instrument.

“[I really love] the the creative aspect of being a musician,” Laven said. “You can really create anything you want. You have the music in front of you, but that’s just the canvas. You can really make it your own, create your own interpretation [of the music].”