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 03, 2021
This week, a gathering of the tribes for a new Flock Dimes song, the return of Warpaint, and a Billie Eilish single torn from the headlines. Plus, healing trancey music from Innov Gnawa.
Monday, April 26, 2021
This week, the return of R&B legend Van Morrison, a joyful noise from Congo’s Jupiter and Okwess, an unsettling noise from Jason Lindner, and an eerie nocturnal song by Lucinda Chua.
Monday, April 19, 2021
This week, Rodrigo y Gabriela cover Astor Piazzolla, a haunted single from Amythyst Kiah, and a musical project exploring non-binary history from the artist Eyibra.
Monday, April 12, 2021
This week, Old Sea Brigade’s new sound, Vijay Iyer's latest Trio, and Chilean singer Mon Laferte’s Mexican tribute. Plus, a kora duet by Ballaké Sissoko and Sona Jobarteh.
Monday, April 05, 2021
This week, songs by Sons of Kemet and Rosanne Cash wrestle with history; and Esperanza Spalding opens her musical apothecary. Plus, L'Rain and Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble.
Monday, March 29, 2021
This week, collaborations between African stars Angélique Kidjo and Yemi Alade, between a jazz master and a British electronic musician, and between a poet and an electric harpist.
Monday, March 22, 2021
This week, Jon Batiste’s “Black folk,” Landlady’s cosmic pop, and a video premiere from two humans and AI software. Plus, new songs from Amy Helm, and Caroline Shaw with So Percussion.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
John Schaefer talks about local venues reopening and previews the summer music scene.
Monday, March 08, 2021
Bruno Mars collaborates with Anderson .Paak as Silk Sonic, St. Vincent channels David Bowie, and Rhiannon Giddens’ transatlantic homesick blues. Plus, Ian Sweet and Arab Strap.
Monday, March 01, 2021
Lula Wiles sends a song from Native American land; a long-delayed return from Dom La Nena; and an unsettling song by Julien Baker. Plus new Slothrust, Horsegirl and Maximo Park.
Monday, February 22, 2021
This week, Afrocentric music by David Walters (with Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal), a Spanish-language debut for José González, and more questionable behavior from The Hold Steady.
Monday, February 15, 2021
This week, Kronos Quartet celebrates Gullah culture, acoustic hip hop from Noga Erez, and a big hug from Ani Cordero. Plus, a collaboration from poet Ross Gay and Justin Vernon.
Monday, January 25, 2021
Week of Jan. 25: This week, a premiere from Balkan Taksim, Billie Eilish & Rosalia’s brooding superstar duet, and hard-rockin’ music for the end times by Pharoahe Monch and th1rt3en.
Monday, January 18, 2021
This week, songs for MLK Day by Moira Smiley, Michael Leonhart and JSWISS, and a Billie Holiday cover. Plus, Cha Wa mixes NOLA funk with Mardi Gras Indian traditions.
Monday, January 11, 2021
This week, a climate song from The Weather Station, an eerie song of nature by Virgil Abloh and serpentwithfeet, and R&B from Rhye.
Monday, January 04, 2021
This week, a Kylie Minogue & Dua Lipa duet ends 2020; a Bill Callahan & Bonnie “Prince” Billy cover begins 2021; Harry Styles has an idea for the new year; and RIP MF DOOM.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Hear the definitive 2020 holiday song by Great American Canyon Band, a winter solstice blessing from Wardruna, and a choral album – in Latin – by Kanye West. Plus, Omar Sosa with Rajery.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Week of Dec. 21: This week, Paul McCartney returns, Branford Marsalis scores Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Miami shoegazey psych-rock band Jaialai scores with a new single.
Monday, December 14, 2020
This week, another Taylor Swift surprise, Natalie Bergman looks ahead to better times, and Las Palabras offer a Latin-Minimalist hybrid. Plus, a duet by Archie Shepp and Jason Moran.
Monday, December 07, 2020
Week of Dec. 7: This week, Dylan Sells Dylan; two Phoebes collaborate; and two deserts become one. Plus, new songs from The Hold Steady and The Comet Is Coming.