Senior Spotlight: Eytan Raviv, Latin’s Enchanting Cellist


Dear Class of 2021,

During this time we are apart, The Forum would like to continue celebrating the senior class as proudly as we can. We hope that in each edition, we can spotlight an achievement, passion, or experience of a member of the senior class. These stories can range from something as big as writing a book to something as small as a great Spotify playlist. If you have a friend you’d like to suggest for the next issue, please use this Google Form. We’re so excited to keep learning and celebrating the class of 2021!

While most 4 year olds were learning how to properly grip a pencil, Senior Eytan Raviv already had his fists around the bow and neck of a cello. Nearly 14 years later, because of his sheer dedication and passion, the cello stands as an integral part of Eytan’s everyday life.

“When I was 4, my mother took me to see the symphony orchestra, and sure enough, I always had my eyes on the cello,” Eytan recalled. Practicing with a one-sixteenth-sized instrument under his first teacher, Megan Lauterbach, Eytan developed his passion for music.

Now, as a member of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s (CYSO) foremost program, the Symphony Orchestra, and of a chamber music group through The Music Institute of Chicago’s academy program, Eytan’s enthusiasm toward the cello continues to grow. “Through the groups I’ve had the privilege to be a part of, I have met and become friends with other musicians in the Chicagoland area,” said Eytan. “I’m sure I’m going to be seeing some of them later on in my life.”

Patently, playing for such prestigious ensembles yields a demanding rehearsal commitment. “Each day I normally play cello for two to three hours. I work on music for CYSO, my chamber group, which is an additional three hours per week, and solo performances. Pre-COVID, I practiced for five hours each week with my orchestra.”

Even with the CYSO’s limitation of in-person rehearsal and performance as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Eytan’s smaller chamber group continues to rehearse together while abiding by public health guidelines. “During this time, I want there to be some in-person playing opportunities with other people. So I thought the chamber ensemble was perfect, because, with a string quartet, we can safely meet at each other’s houses to play together.”

Fortunately for Eytan, he has uncovered a silver lining of staying at home. By adding to his already demanding practice regimen, Eytan hopes to make considerable improvement during the pandemic. “When the pandemic is over, I want to be a lot better than I was in March, by a mile. That’s what has been motivating me.”

He sees the cello, and music in general, as a medium through which to create and spread happiness across communities. Thus, Eytan decided to record virtual solo performances of popular melodies, including Billie Eilish’s “bad guy,” and posted them to social media to play his part in uplifting his community. Eytan noted, “I knew that if I put some music on my social media, I could put smiles on people’s faces and boost their spirits.”

Spreading his passion and talent for the cello continued this past winter as Eytan appeared on “Introductions” through WFMT—a Chicago radio station featuring classical and folk music. English teacher Ann McGlinn, a former teacher of Eytan’s, said, “What struck me most in his most recent performance on ‘Introductions’ is his incredible stylistic range. For such a young musician, his sound and repertoire reflect an emotional maturity and level of skill well beyond his years.”

When reflecting on his career so far, Eytan explained, “I have always had the privilege of being able to afford a high-quality music education, so I have always hoped to find a way to provide the same education I received to others in Chicago.”

Eytan’s vision of all students having the opportunity to receive a high-quality music education aligns with the Merit School of Music’s mission to supply “equal access to excellent music education for all students.” Though the Merit School has historically hired adult faculty and staff, they accepted an eager Eytan as a volunteer. “The students at the Merit School are pretty much just younger versions of me. They remind me of when I first started playing cello—they love playing music together and really want to get better. So I see myself in them,” said Eytan. While reflecting on his time volunteering at the Merit School, Eytan added, “I think that being there to help them achieve what I’ve been able to achieve has been really fulfilling.”

Although Eytan graduates from Latin this year, his cello studies will continue at Northwestern University, where he plans to pursue a dual degree in Economics and Cello Performance at the Bienen School of Music. “The question for me, going into college, wasn’t why to pursue this, but why not pursue it. Why should I stop now if I’m improving, and it’s always made me happy?” said Eytan. Continuing to study under Professor Hans Jørgen Jensen, his teacher during high school, Eytan sees Northwestern as a place to further his cello studies while pursuing high-level academics.

Simply put, the cello represents a myriad of different feelings and messages to Eytan. He explained, “It’s a way to connect with people, and it’s a way to make myself and those around me happy. Once I pick up my cello and start playing, I can just tune out everything else, and it’s just music. It has always been that way.”