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: 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.

Weekly Music Roundup: The National, Danielle Ponder, and Antonio Sanchez

Monday, August 29, 2022

New Sounds
Hear new music from The National, the return of swamp-pop legend Tommy McLain, and a promising soul debut by Danielle Ponder. Plus, 'Birdman' composer and drummer Antonio Sanchez. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Lee Fields, The Mountain Goats, Matthew E White & Lonnie Holley

Monday, August 22, 2022

New Sounds
Lee Fields gets sentimental; the Mountain Goats get vengeful; Matthew E White & Lonnie Holley get angry; and experimental folk band Heilung sings the oldest song in the world. (Maybe.) 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Danger Mouse & Black Thought, Sylvan Esso, Eunbi Kim

Monday, August 15, 2022

New Sounds
Week of Aug. 15: This week, Danger Mouse & Black Thought collaborate, finally; also, First Aid Kit hit the dance floor and Sylvan Esso goes glitchy.
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Bonus: Flutist Brandon Patrick George in Conversation with Darren Walker

Thursday, August 04, 2022

This week, we are re-releasing a conversation between flutist Brandon Patrick George and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, from November 2021.

Weekly Music Roundup: Beyoncé, Dry Cleaning, Robert Glasper

Monday, August 01, 2022

New Sounds
This week, Beyoncé (‘nuff said), plus new releases from Dry Cleaning, Robert Glasper, and Peter Gabriel’s archives.
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Justin Austin in Conversation with Josh Berg

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Baritone Justin Austin and audio engineer Josh Berg discuss their work with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, musical genres and cross-pollination, authenticity, and more.

Weekly Music Roundup: Interpol, Beth Orton, and Monte

Monday, July 18, 2022

New Sounds
Interpol lightens up (a little); Monte celebrates an Afro-Colombian tradition; and Beth Orton's return. Plus, dreamy funk from JayWood; and violinist Simon Goff with singer Katie Melua. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Trail of Dead, Loyle Carner, Denitia

Monday, July 11, 2022

New Sounds
A Trail of Dead premiere, feminist folk from Chile, and Margo Price’s defiant statement of women’s rights. Plus, British hip hop artist Loyle Carner, and Denitia's country-folk.
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The New York Public Library honors Lou Reed with a new exhibition

Monday, July 11, 2022

A new exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts offers a rare glimpse into the archives of the late songwriter Lou Reed.

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Summer Music Review/Preview

Friday, July 08, 2022

We are reflecting on the best albums that have already been released this year, what sounds and trends have been popular, as well as look forward to what projects we should expect.

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Layale Chaker in Conversation with Fabian Almazan and David Lentz

Thursday, July 07, 2022

In WQXR's new Artist Propulsion Lab podcast, each artist explores a topic important to them. This week, a conversation about music and environmental stewardship, with Layale Chaker.