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.
John Schaefer appears in the following:
Monday, May 16, 2022
The return of Kendrick Lamar, a new Radiohead spinoff, and Amythyst Kiah does up a Tori Amos song. Plus, guitar hero Vieux Farka Touré, and spiritual sounds by Revelators Sound System.
Monday, May 02, 2022
This week, Made In America: music from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico. Also, the return of Willie Nelson, and Shilpa Ray takes on the patriarchy. Plus, new Congotronics International.
Monday, April 25, 2022
Composer, DJ, and techno pioneer Carl Craig joins us with the Carl Craig Synthesizer Ensemble.
Monday, April 18, 2022
This week, Sonny Singh’s tribute to the Sikh community, Nailah Hunter’s eerie nocturne, and Cory Wong’s effortless funk. Plus, a cover of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman,” and more.
Monday, April 04, 2022
This week, gifted British singer Emeli Sandé, Pastor Champion’s posthumous debut, Hannah Peel meets the Paraorchestra, and Adrian Quesada reinvents Mexican psychedelia.
Monday, March 28, 2022
This week, Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys, together at last; Chance The Rapper’s multimedia art project; multi-continental singer Juanita Euka, and Adia Victoria’s death-defying blues.
Monday, March 07, 2022
A premiere from Ferris & Sylvester, a very different duo from RZA & DJ Scratch, and a suggestive bit of sweetness from Kaina. Plus, Ukrainian black metal bands White Ward and Drudkh.
Monday, February 28, 2022
This week, a timely new song from Mali’s Oumou Sangaré, Robert Glasper’s star-studded new LP, Tank & The Bangas' "Stolen Fruit," and the ambitious debut of caroline.
Thursday, February 24, 2022
From folk to rock to rap, American music has been deeply influenced by the work of Woody Guthrie. And a new exhibit examines why. WNYC’s John Schaefer took a look.
Monday, February 21, 2022
Future Islands' return to TV, Hurray For The Riff Raff’s recipe for life on earth, and creepy folk from both Cinder Well and Jake Blount. Plus, Samora Pinderhughes addresses masculinity.
Monday, February 14, 2022
Spoon spends time with Lucifer, Odesza remakes an old Bettye LaVette song, and Kae Tempest’s love song to a troubled England. Plus, harpist Brandee Younger's two-part single, "Unrest."
Monday, February 07, 2022
Mitski returns, British band Wet Leg debuts, and RIP to India’s Lata Mangeshkar. Also, cumbia appreciation from Los Bitchos and Calexico, and the latest by Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo.
Monday, January 31, 2022
This week, new songs from Method Man and Combo Chimbita, and a blues collaboration 60 years in the making from Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. Plus, Polish pianist Hania Rani's surprise EP.
Monday, January 24, 2022
There's global pop from California via Iran, and England via Nigeria; and the return of Superchunk. Plus, reedman Charlie Gabriel's debut album, 89, and Brad Barr's solo guitar album.
Monday, January 17, 2022
This week: Elvis Costello, The Reverend Shawn Amos, and dance music from Mali by Rokia Koné, Colombia via Combo Chimbita, and the 80s in music by Mitski. Plus, composer Emily Wells.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Thanks to legislation passed in 2018, around 400,000 sound recordings made before 1923 are now available in the public domain. We take a look at what's been uncovered.
Monday, January 10, 2022
This week, a premiere from Brittany Davis, The Weeknd’s End-Times Radio Station, and a Celebration of New Orleans Hip Hop and Jazz. Plus, new music from Black Country, New Road.
Monday, January 03, 2022
Cellist Kate Ellis and violinist Laura Cannell offer a seasonal gift from Glasgow; a rare, old salsa tune gets a modern remix; and Virginia guitarist Daniel Bachman's comforting blues.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Video Christmas gifts from Joni Mitchell and Mary J Blige; and festive dance music, Balkan-style. Plus, Ed Sheeran a cappella, and radical Jewish music meets Afrobeat in Zion80.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
WNYC's John Schaefer brings us the sounds of Christmas from around the world.