Lora Schaefer joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as second oboe in July 2009, the first musician appointed to the Orchestra by Riccardo Muti. She became assistant principal oboe in February 2023. Schaefer is on the faculty of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and also presents master classes around the world.
Prior to joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Schaefer was principal oboe of the Kansas City Symphony beginning in 1996. She has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Schaefer received a bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with John Mack. She pursued graduate studies at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, under the tutelage of Robert Atherholt, principal oboe of the Houston Symphony. Schaefer has participated in many festivals, including the Grand Teton Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Blossom Music Festival and the National Orchestral Institute.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Schaefer began playing the oboe in third grade. She attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Among many influential musicians in her career, her early teachers include Florence Meyers, John Dee and Daniel Stolper.
Schaefer and her husband share a passion for rescuing senior basset hounds and volunteering for a local basset rescue. At any one time, they usually have three bassets of their own.