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Student Navigator Becca Dora is an oboist, teacher, and arts administrator who is passionate about advancing equity in classical music. She originally came to CMPI from Ravinia’s El Sistema program after seeing several El Sistema students apply for the program. With degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern, and DePaul, she is a well-rounded model for the students she works with through CMPI.

becca and oboeGrowing up, Becca did not always experience a supportive music environment. “I love supporting young people in their passions. I grew up in an environment that wasn’t necessarily supportive of my dreams, and a program like CMPI would’ve made a huge difference for me and those around me to see that a career in music is possible. I think Pathways programs are important because they help students and their families gain awareness of what a career in music could look like and give them the tools and individualized support necessary to keep the doors of possibility open.”

Becca sees herself as a “as a counselor, mentor, audition coach, administrator, delegator, a person who lays down the law, and friend.” While many of her activities as a Student Navigator are administrative, she hopes “to be the person that I needed when I grew up, so whatever I can do to be the most helpful in the moment is what I always strive to be.” A particular focus for her is helping students with performance anxiety and assisting in mental preparation for performances and auditions.

She sees great importance in the mission of CMPI. “This program is important because this country has a history of systemic racism, which also persists in classical music. Our program helps remove many of the barriers that would otherwise prevent musicians of color from ultimately achieving their full potential.”

Becca and oboe in concert hallFor Becca, it was oboist and teacher Alex Klein who transformed her. “He basically rebuilt me as a musician. So much the way in which I advise students to practice is based on his teachings.” She hopes to have the same impact on the students she works with through CMPI, some of whom she has known since her El Sistema days. “I’ve known a few CMPI fellows from the very start of their musical journey, and it is a privilege to be able to see their growth over the past 7 years.”

In addition to her role at CMPI, Becca still loves playing the oboe. She is Principal Oboe of the Chicago Composers Orchestra and on the sub list for many regional and local orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony, Madison Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Rockford Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, and others. She also works for a reedmaking business, “spending a lot of time crafting reeds and processing cane with sharp objects and machinery.”

While very busy, Becca loves to play video games! Her claim to fame is winning solo Battle Royale on Fortnite 48 times. She also enjoys hanging out with her cats Hamburger (Hammie) and Austin.

Becca's cats


Becca Dora and her cats

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