John Schaefer

Host

John Schaefer has hosted Soundcheck since the show’s inception in 2002. He has also hosted and produced WNYC’s radio series New Sounds since 1982 (“The No. 1 radio show for the Global Village” – Billboard) and the New Sounds Live concert series since 1986.

John has written extensively about music, including the book New Sounds: A Listener’s Guide to New Music (Harper & Row, NY, 1987; Virgin Books, London, 1990); The Cambridge Companion to Singing: World Music (Cambridge University Press, U.K., 2000); and the TV program Bravo Profile: Bobby McFerrin (Bravo Television, 2003). He was contributing editor for Spin and Ear magazines, and his liner notes appear on more than 100 recordings, ranging from “The Music of Cambodia” to recordings by Yo-Yo Ma and Terry Riley. 

In 2003, Schaefer was honored with the American Music Center's prestigious Letter of Distinction for his "substantial contributions to advancing the field of contemporary American music in the United States and abroad." In May 2006, New York magazine cited Schaefer as one of "the people whose ideas, power, and sheer will are changing New York" in its Influentials issue.  He began blogging for WNYC when accompanying the New York Philharmonic on its historic (and apparently very weird) trip to North Korea in 2008 and continues to blog at soundcheck.org.

He is a regular contributor to the World Science Festival and the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center; he has also written about horse racing (Bloodlines: A Horse Racing Anthology, Vintage NY 2006) and was a regular panelist on the BBC’s soccer-based program Sports World.  

Shows:

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Weekly Music Roundup: The National, Oddisee, and Ryuichi Sakamoto

Monday, January 23, 2023

New Sounds
This week, returns for The National, Oddisee, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Plus, new pop gems from boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker) and Fenne Lily.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Vicky Tafoya, Marcus Strickland, Katie Melua

Monday, January 16, 2023

New Sounds
This week, time-traveling songs by Vicky Tafoya and Rachael & Vilray; and big questions in music by Marcus Strickland and Katie Melua. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Peter Gabriel, Polobi, and Aoife O’Donovan

Monday, January 09, 2023

New Sounds
This week, new songs mark Peter Gabriel’s 20 years away and The Hold Steady’s 20 years here; also, a new Afro-Caribbean sound and a cover from Aoife O’Donovan.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Anoushka Shankar, Moby and Jose James, Silversun Pickups

Monday, December 19, 2022

New Sounds
This week, a call to action from Anoushka Shankar; a snowy ballad from Moby and Jose James; and a poignant holiday cover from Silversun Pickups. Plus, South Africa's Jackie Queens.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Orbital, Msaki & Tubatsi, and Bio Ritmo

Monday, December 12, 2022

New Sounds
Plague-based dance music from Orbital; Msaki & Tubatsi’s celebration of South Africa; and Bio Ritmo salsa-fies “The Bionic Man”.  Plus, Hania Rani, and Florence + the Machine.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Joy Oladokun, White Lung, Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Monday, December 05, 2022

New Sounds
This week, Joy Oladokun’s anthem for Rev. Al Sharpton; First Nations hip hop by Snotty Nose Rez Kids; and David Byrne’s oddball song about Santa. Plus, punk band White Lung's swan song.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Bruce Springsteen, Fergus Quill Trio, and Chancha Via Circuito

Monday, November 14, 2022

New Sounds
Time travel with Bruce Springsteen, Fergus Quill Trio, and Congo’s Balka Sound. Plus, new music from Heather Woods Broderick, Dizzy, and Argentine producer Chancha Via Circuito.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Holly Herndon, Ezra Collective and Kojey Radical, Yo La Tengo

Monday, November 07, 2022

New Sounds
This week, the voice of AI, courtesy of Holly Herndon; jazz and hip hop collaborations from both sides of the Atlantic; and the first song from Yo La Tengo’s next record. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Natalia Lafourcade, Altin Gün, Nakhane with Perfume Genius

Monday, October 31, 2022

New Sounds
Natalia Lafourcade’s musical alchemy; Andrew Bird & Phoebe Bridgers’ duet; and Altin Gün’s Turkish psychedelia. Plus, dance bangers from Nakhane with Perfume Genius; and The Go! Team.
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Halfie: A Memoir, by Andrew Yee

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Cellist and composer Andrew Yee (she/they) presents an audio memoir of identity and belonging through music.

Weekly Music Roundup: Monsieur Perine, Priya Ragu, Bonny Light Horseman

Monday, October 10, 2022

New Sounds
This week, Colombian dance music from Monsieur Perine, Tamil dance music from Swiss singer-songwriter Priya Ragu, and sunny folk-pop from the trio Bonny Light Horseman.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Björk, Benjamin Clementine, Steve Reich

Monday, October 03, 2022

New Sounds
This week, musical returns from Björk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and LCD Soundsystem. Plus Benjamin Clementine, Steve Reich, and more. 
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This Composer is Sick: Scott Joplin Didn't Die of Opera Failure

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Emi Ferguson concludes This Composer is Sick with a look at the life, death, and work of American composer, Scott Joplin.

Weekly Music Roundup: Stormzy, Beth Orton, and Jake Blount

Monday, September 26, 2022

New Sounds
This week, hotly anticipated returns for British rapper Stormzy and songwriter Beth Orton; dystopian Afrofuturism by musician/scholar Jake Blount; and a new/old sound for Margo Price.
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WNYC's New Sounds Turns 40

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

John Schaefer discusses the 40th anniversary of New Sounds and previews some fall music events to look out for.

Misheard Lyrics

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Listeners call in to share lyrics they've misheard.

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Weekly Music Roundup: Butcher Brown, Quinn Christopherson, Death Cab For Cutie

Monday, September 19, 2022

New Sounds
Butcher Brown’s big band jazz meets hip hop; Death Cab For Cutie’s dark night of the soul; and the sound of Mozart’s own piano. Plus, Native Alaskan songwriter Quinn Christopherson.
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Bedřich Smetana and the High E of Doom

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Flute-player Emi Ferguson looks at the impact of syphilis Bedřich Smetana the man, composer, and Czech national icon.

Weekly Music Roundup: Sun Ra, Norah Jones, Daisy Press

Monday, September 12, 2022

New Sounds
This week, 8 centuries of covers: Sun Ra Arkestra covers Chopin; Norah Jones sings Leonard Cohen; Daisy Press reinvents Hildegard of Bingen. 
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Schubert's Heavy Metal Therapy

Thursday, September 01, 2022

This week, Emi Ferguson looks at the life of Franz Schubert, and how his last years were impacted by syphilis.