December is John Schaefer Month. Listen to a special music stream culled from 30 years of John's shows and live events at WNYC, including New Sounds, Soundcheck and Around New York. Just click on the 'Special' tab in the player on the right.
CLICK on the 'Schaefer' tab in the player to the right to stream Schaefer FM >
And we are asking you, John's listeners, to tell us about a time when John exposed you to music you otherwise wouldn’t have heard, a time when something on the radio or at a concert John hosted just kind of blew you away, a "Schaefer Moment." Tell us your "Schaefer Moment."
Program: New Sounds #1375
Guest: Lou Harrison
The late Lou Harrison, one of America's most enduring and original composers, discusses his long career and presents his most recent works, from a 1997 show.
NY Guitar Festival Marathon Concert
Program: New Sounds # 2018
Highlights from the January 2002 New York Guitar Festival/New Sounds Live from the 92nd Street Y, including The Andy Summers Trio performing music by Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus. Plus, Guitarist Mark Stewart performs on prepared guitar.
Live Music from WNYC's "Soundcheck"
Program: New Sounds #2143
In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Soundcheck, host John Schaefer treats New Sounds listeners to live performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Sex Mob, Ute Lemper, and others.
Talk About the Passion!
Guests: Stephin Merritt and Josh Ritter
Love is in the air on Soundcheck's annual Valentine's Day show, whether you like sweeping romance or bawdy raunch. Stephin Merritt, the eccentric mastermind behind New York band The Magnetic Fields portrays a unique take on the cliché-ridden topic of love in the epic three-CD masterwork, "69 Love Songs." He performs some of those notorious songs live in the WNYC studio. And the young Idaho-bred songwriter Josh Ritter stops by to present a more traditional--yet no less captivating--take on romance.
Max Roach & Uptown String Quartet
Program: New Sounds #1018
Legendary drummer and composer Max Roach plays his 4-part inventions for drum kit, recorded on location as part of the New Sounds Live concert series. Look forward to some participatory drumming by the audience on this 1994 New Sound From the Vaults program. Plus, daughter Maxine Roach and the rest of the Uptown String Quartet play their infectious blend of jazz, funk.
Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole
Guests: Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole
The husband-and-wife team of Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole have contributed to such wacky Christopher Guest mock-umentaries as "A Mighty Wind" and "This is Spinal Tap." But for years, they've been performing their original songs for their Hollywood- and Broadway-insider friends. They introduced their show to the public for the first time with a cabaret show at Feinsteins at the Regency and joined us with a preview.
Carla Bley and Steve Swallow
Program: New Sounds #288
Guests: Carla Bley and Steve Swallow
For this New Sounds, hear live performances from pianist and composer Carla Bley together with bass player Steve Swallow. Also, hear music from their "Duets" release.
Guest: Courtney Love
Rolling Stone magazine has called Courtney Love "the most controversial woman in the history of rock." Certainly, about everyone has a strong opinion about the former leader of the band Hole. Love shares stories about her life as musician, actress and widow of rock icon Kurt Cobain, some of which are detailed in her book "Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love."
A Koto Armada
Program: New Sounds 487
Date: May 8, 1990
Guests: Kazue Sawai Koto Ensemble
Hear a live performance of contemporary music written for koto, the classical zither of Japan, on this New Sounds program. This 1990 show features a bold and serene articulation of a work for koto & bass koto by the Kazue Sawai Koto ensemble. In a piece called "Homura," this virtual aramada of kotos approximates fiery swells and crashes, along with peaceful ebbs and flows.
“Twitchy Renaissance-Infused Minimalism”
Program: New Sounds # 2814
Guest: Nico Muhly
From the New Sounds Live concerts at Merkin Hall, Nico Muhly presents a series of new electroacoustic ensemble works, combining “twitchy Minimalism” and Renaissance polyphony. Hear then-brand new works from "Mothertongue," along with other works, recorded live.
Guests: Wim Wenders and John Doe
German screen director Wim Wenders has made music a crucial element in such films as "Buena Vista Social Club," "Paris, Texas," and "Wings of Desire." He once quipped "Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more into sax and violins." Wenders tells us what he means when he discusses the art of movie scoring of his film, "Land of Plenty." Also: Starting in the late 1970s, songwriter John Doe fronted the classic L.A. punk band X. But rarely did it measure up to the hard-driving stereotypes of punk. Now Doe has recorded his first self-described "blues" album. But again, it hardly conforms to traditional expectations. He joins us to share some of the results.
Vaults: Astor Piazolla
Program: New Sounds #304
Guest: Astor Piazolla
This month we’re revisiting classic shows, and have left no corner of the closet unchecked. For this 1991 New Sounds From the Vaults, we bring you the king of the neuvo tango himself, the late Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. He peppers us with mafia references, talks about the origins of the bandoneon, and presents music from the then-brand new release of “La Camorra.” Also, guitar duo music by pickers John Renbourn & Stefan Grossman.
Program: Around New York
Guest: Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar performs in the WNYC Studios, and talks with John Schaefer about upcoming projects and concerts.
For “Limits,” Music Without Boundaries
Guest: Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch’s film "The Limits of Control" boasts two soundtracks. One of them features music from Jarmusch's own band. The filmmaker tells us about making music while making films.
Beyond the Bossa Nova
Program: New Sounds #444
Headline: Beyond the Bossa Nova
Guest: Caetano Veloso
Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso first visited the WNYC studio back in 1990 on New Sounds, just after Nonesuch had released his album, “Estrangeiro.” In this From the Vaults show, subtitled “Beyond the Bossa Nova,” Veloso talks about how everyone in Brazil has a guitar (and claims that many may play better than he does.) He introduces his songs and performs live, including a special tribute to David Byrne with an arrangement of Byrne's tune, “Nothing But Flowers.” Also, there’s more Brazilian music, mostly by guitarists, including works from Egberto Gismonti, Oscar Castro-Neves and Toninho Hora with Pat Metheny.
Program: New Sounds Live
Guests: Francis Bebey, Virginia Luque, Simon Shaheen and Vishwaa Bhatt
Works by Francis Bebey: "The Magic Box,""Tacaryssa," "Yam Daabo," "Ndesse" and "Concert pour un vieux masque." Virginia Luque plays "Danza brasileira," by Jorge Morel, "Waltz, Op. 64, No. 2," by Frédéric Chopin, "Farruca," "Nostalgias de mi tierra," "Bulerías "La Romería" and "Gran jota," by Francisco Tárrega. Improvisations by Simon Shaheen and Vishwaa Bhatt.
Guests: John Adams and Anonymous 4
John Adams’s controversial opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” recounted the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and the subsequent murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish American passenger. The Brooklyn Academy of Music, which presented the American premiere of the work in 1991, brought it back for a series of concert performances. Adams joins John Schaefer to respond to some of the criticisms of the work – which was seen by many as insensitive in its treatment of religious issues. Also on the show, vocal quartet Anonymous Four takes a break from its farewell tour for a live performance in the studio with harpist Andrew Lawrence King.
Russian Gypsy Guitar
Program: Around New York
Guest: Valentina Ponomareva
Fiery performances by Russian-Roma musician Valentina Ponomareva.
Guitar Tribute: George Harrison
Program: New Sounds # 2093
New Sounds revisits the 2002 New York Guitar Festival with a tribute to the late George Harrison, recorded live at Merkin Hall. Titled after his 1970 multidisc solo epic, "All Things Must Pass,” highlights include performances by Vernon Reid and guitarist Joel Harrison.
Inspired by Berlin's Strange and Colorful Spaces
Guests: Eduard Meyer, Alex Wende, 17 Hippies and Simon Rattle
Since the 1960s, musicians from around the world have made pilgrimages to the legendary Hansa studios ("Hansa at the Wall") in Berlin. The recording studio's credits include major albums by David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Luciano Pavarotti, Nick Cave and U2, among many others. In the fifth and final installment of our shows recorded in Berlin, we learn about Hansa's colorful past. We then travel to a very different space: the KulturBrauerei, a former 19th-century brewery where the acoustic folk-rock band 17 Hippies records their high-energy, danceable music. Finally, hear about the man at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic: conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
Program: New Sounds #2710
Guest: Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson's unique and original "Big Science," a blend of smart sung-spoken lyrics and unsettling textures of music, came out of nowhere in 1982, with its skewed pop and minimalist themes teasing at the surreal and absurd. "The sounds of 'Big Science' are stark and asymmetrical, but they’re also often bizarrely hypnotic." (Pop Matters.com) And let's not forget the vocoder on Anderson's voice. Also, wouldn't you know it, it was September 3, 1982 that New Sounds first went on the air. For this New Sounds program, Laurie Anderson and host John Schaefer celebrate 25th Anniversaries together.
Program: New Sounds #2146
Guest: Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky
DJ Spooky's release “Optometry” is a vast sonic essay that merges DJ culture seamlessly with jazz, ambient and other styles. As DJ Spooky wields laptop, turntables, treatments, bass, he is joined by pianist Matthew Shipp and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, among other guest musicians. Spooky calls Optometry "jazz for the genre splice generation," and as this edition of New Sounds illustrates, it's a big step forward in the DJ genre.
Tori Amos Live
Guest: Tori Amos
For over 20 years, singer-songwriter Tori Amos has touched on hot-button issues like sexuality, patriarchy and religion. She joins us to talk about impersonating four different archetypes from the Greek pantheon and slamming George Bush on her album "American Doll Posse.” She plays live in studio.
Program: New Sounds #335
Guest: Peter Gabriel
For this August 3, 1989 edition of New Sounds From the Vaults, Peter Gabriel visited the WNYC studios. The show centered around the less pop/Top 40 ventures of Peter Gabriel, mainly his soundtrack to the film The Last Temptation of Christ - “Passion” and the companion record “Passion: Sources”, music taken from an interesting collection of musicians from other cultures and released on the Real World label. Gabriel and John also touched on the music and the concept of the WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance) festival, which began in 1982. Together, WOMAD and Gabriel co-founded Real World Records in 1989, producing high-quality recorded music from all corners of the globe.
New York Phil in Pyongyang
After months of preparation, the New York Philharmonic went to North Korea on a concert visit that many hoped would help thaw relations with the U.S. Host John Schaefer reports from Pyongyang on the concert.
Renaissance Polyphony from Eastern Europe
Program: Around New York
Guests: Hilliard Ensemble
From 14th C. music from the Codex Speciálník, an eponymous “special songbook,” found in a Prague monastery and dated to around 1500, to music by Arvo Part, the quartet performs live in the WNYC studios and tells of their troubles getting through customs.
Songs and Poems
Program: New Sounds #2790
Guests: Philip Glass and Wendy Sutter
Composer Philip Glass and cellist Wendy Sutter present Glass's major seven-movement work for solo cello, "Songs and Poems" for this edition of New Sounds. The pieces are intense, dark, and beautiful, at times reminiscent of Bach and but also steeped in the romantics. There is definitely an awareness of using the cello’s range to sing and approximate the human voice, and Sutter’s playing is lyrical and warm, earning comparisons to late Mstislav Rostropovich, and less brutal Janos Starker. We’ll hear highlights from the recording, which also contains “Tissues,” for cello, piano and percussion (2002), written for the original soundtrack recording to Godfrey Reggio's "Naqoyqatsi."
Guest: Youssou N’Dour
Singer and songwriter Youssou N’Dour is probably the biggest star in African music today. Since being introduced to American audiences on seminal albums such as Paul Simon's "Graceland" and Peter Gabriel's "So," N'Dour has exported the sounds of his home-country of Senegal to the world for over two decades, mixing it with the blues, pop and rock. He joins us to talk about his music and Islam, subjects of the documentary “I Bring What I Love.”
"In C" with Terry Riley and David Harrington of Kronos Quartet
Program: New Sounds # 2927
Guests: Terry Rile and David Harrington
Terry Riley and David Harrington join John Schaefer for this New Sounds program. Riley is the composer of "In C," the landmark 1964 work that ushered in the style known as Minimalism. Harrington is leader of the Kronos Quartet, and helped to organize the all-star, once-in-a-lifetime cast who performed "In C" last season at Carnegie Hall.
For this episode, the three talk about approaches to the piece (whether to conduct it, or not) and highlight several recordings, including the Shanghai Film Orchestra's version, which was smuggled out of the country. Plus, Riley's account of the strangest (and longest) performance of the piece - in Mexico City.
SXSW: Gateway to the Music World
Guests: Grant Dull, Tracy Mann, Amy Rosen, The Heavy
Hundreds of foreign musicians come to Texas each year searching for the American dream: a chance to crack the U.S. music market. The world comes to Austin in the second of two special live broadcasts from the South by Southwest music festival. Later, a live performance from offbeat soul band The Heavy. Hailing from outside Bath, England, they claim to “specialize in making everything wrong sound right.” We find out just what that means.
Najma Akhtar & Gary Lucas
Program: New Sounds #2795
Guests: Najma Akhtar & Gary Lucas
New York guitarist/composer Gary Lucas and the Anglo-Indian singer Najma Akhtar step away from their bands and debut their mostly acoustic new project, a musical partnership that began in May 2007 when Gary invited Najma to join him onstage at a London concert. The fusion of influences and musical styles that Akhtar and Lucas is nothing short of brilliant and wonderfully unique. Listen for the results on this New Sounds program.
Guest: David Byrne
Pop star David Byrne’s collaboration with producer Brian Eno in the 70s and 80s generated some of the best music either man has created to date. They teamed up again in 2008 for an album called "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today." Then, Byrne toured with that repertoire in a show that includes lots of white outfits and choreographed dancing. Byrne joins us to talk about it.
New Sounds Live: A World in New York
Program: New Sounds # 2609
Guest: Yungchecn Lhamo, Susan McKeown and Angelique Kidjo
From sthe New Sounds Live concert series, three great women’s voices in World Music – all based in New York. Listen to performances by Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet, via Queens), Susan McKeown (Ireland, via Manhattan), and Angelique Kidjo (Benin, via Brooklyn), recorded live at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden in the fall of 2006.
Vaults: New Orleans in Brooklyn
Program: New Sounds #1067
Guest: The Rebirth Brass Band and The Wild Magnolias
The Rebirth Brass Band, together since 1983, is a musical institution among brass bands, often letting loose with heavy funk and inciting dance riots. The Wild Magnolias, a Mardi Gras “Indian” tribe, are another party parade band, whose elaborate costumes recall the dress of Native Americans, complete with feathers and huge headdresses. For this edition of New Sounds, listen a From the Vaults program of shout, party and stomp sets from both the Rebirth Brass Band and the Wild Magnolias recorded live back at the 1994 World Music Festival held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House.
Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein
Guests: Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is the refined, precise interpreter of the American songbook. Dame Edna Everage is the lavender-coiffed, sharp-tongued alter ego of Australian actor Barry Humphries. This musical odd couple teamed up for "All About Me," an evening of wit, wisecracking and song on Broadway. We get a taste of the indelible duo.
Mos Def and the Brooklyn Philharmonic
Program: New Sounds #3259
Guests: Mos Def and the Brooklyn Philharmonic
From the New Sounds Live concert series, hear songs by Yasiin Bey, the former Mos Def, arranged by Derek Bermel and played by Yasiin Bey and members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Alan Pierson. Plus, the world premiere of David T. Little's "Am I Born," and more works from the show, recorded live at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden.
Schaefer Not Only Plays Guitar, But The Ocarina As Well!
Program: Around New York
Andean music from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador-Rutgers, featuring John Schaefer on ocarina.
Live in The Jerome L. Greene Space: Steve Martin and Mike Birbiglia
Guests: Steve Martin and Mike Birbiglia
Actor, author and banjo player Steve Martin and comedian Mike Birbiglia joined us for a live broadcast from The Greene Space. When Martin won a Grammy in 2010 for his debut as a banjo player, he impressed a tough crowd: bluegrass purists. He joins us with his crack backing band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, to play songs from his new album, “Rare Bird Alert.” Later, Birbiglia, a comedian and monologist who woke up audiences with a stage show and book called "Sleepwalk With Me," tells us what's in store with an upcoming off-Broadway production called "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend."
Klezmatics, Near Eastern, Shaheen, London
Program: New Sounds Live
Guests: The Klezmatics, Near Eastern Music Ensemble, Simon Shaheen and Frank London Project
Twisted versions of traditional Klezmer music together with Palestinian oud player Simone Shaheen
Live in The Jerome L. Greene Space: Meredith Monk
Program: New Sounds #3212
Guest: Meredith Monk
On this New Sounds, hear live performances by Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, along with the Todd Reynolds Quartet from the record release party for Monk’s ECM release, “Songs of Ascension.” recorded just a few weeks ago in The Jerome L. Greene Space. Inspired in part by the writings of Paul Celan on the “Song of Ascents” - 15 of the Psalms sung by people ascending during pilgrimages - Monk’s work uses both voices and instruments. The strings, reeds, percussion, and shruti box (a drone instrument from India) envelop the audience in contemplative, celestial sound. Some playful recurring sections proceed in a circular way, echoing the round form of either the stupa (Buddhism) or mosque.
Live in The Jerome L. Greene Space: DJ Rob Swift and The National
Guest: DJ Rob Swift, The National
New York musicians take center stage in WNYC's The Greene Space. Brooklyn-based rock band The National gives our audience a sneak preview of the upcoming album High Violet. Plus: Jackson Heights-born DJ Rob Swift puts his turntable wizardry on display. We watch his foray into hip hop and classical music during a live performance.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Program: New Sounds #997
Guest: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Pakistani singer who introduced many Westerners to Sufi devotional songs was the focus of a memorable New Sounds on November 12, 1993. As we hear, Ali Khan could be nothing less than mesmerizing in long, spectacular stretches of nonverbal vocalizing. Ali Khan died just four years after this program first aired.
Program: New Sounds #375
Guest: Brian Eno
Host John Schaefer is joined by English composer, musician and record producer Brian Eno for this edition of New Sounds. Listen to pieces from his ever-expanding range of albums from "Discreet Music" to "Another Green World." Plus, hear excerpts from his 61-minute ambient composition "Thursday Afternoon" and much more.
Mavis Staples: In Studio
Guest: Mavis Staples
For her album "You Are Not Alone," soul and gospel star Mavis Staples enlisted the songwriting and producing talents of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. The result is a collection that includes two Tweedy originals as well as songs by Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, Little Milton and others. Staples joins us to talk about the album and the collaboration and performs live in the Soundcheck studio.
Lux Vivens, Music of Hildegard von Bingen
Program: New Sounds #1657
Guest: Jocelyn Montgomery
Jocelyn Montgomery (Miranda Sex Garden) sings the music of the abbess Hildegard von Bingen, recorded live at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden. Also, music by Bridget of Sweden.
Program: New Sounds #453
Guest: World Sax Quartet, Les Miserables Brass Band
From the New Sounds Live Concert Series, hear performances by the Les Miserables Brass Band and the World Saxopone Quartet.
Best of Soundcheck: Adele + PJ Harvey
Guests: Adele, PJ Harvey
The Mercury Prize is awarded every September to the best album by an artist from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The nominees are usually new to American ears - but 2011’s short list includes a couple of familiar names. In a "Best of Soundcheck" episode, we rebroadcast live in-studio conversations and performances from Mercury Prize nominees Adele and PJ Harvey.
American Premiere of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Untitled 01”
Program: New Sounds Live
Guest: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Concerto for three soloists, DJ Spooky, guitarist David Torn and the composer himself, Ryuichi Sakamoto, at the piano.
New Sounds Live: David Lang
Program: New Sounds 3007
Guest: David Lang, New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum
From New Sounds Live at WNYC's Jerome L. Greene Space, we hear the American premiere of David Lang’s choral version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, "The Little Match Girl Passion." Originally for four voices and percussion, it is sung by the NY Virtuoso Singers, with Harold Rosenbaum conducting. The concert also includes late Hungarian composer György Ligeti’s best-known work, "Lux Aeterna."