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, 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.
Monday, November 30, 2020
This week, veteran songwriter Jim Keller returns, and new recordings by Bombino and Xixa take us to the deserts of West Africa and the American Southwest, respectively. Plus, Tori Amos.
Monday, November 23, 2020
This week, nostalgia for psychedelic Turkish pop, a wide-angle view of the Black experience in The Grey Land by Joseph C. Phillips Jr, and a gothic polka about a haunted house.
Monday, November 16, 2020
This week, more is more: Loyle Carner + Madlib, Aya Nakamura + Stormzy, and Chilly Gonzalez + Jarvis Cocker + Feist. Plus, Matt Bauer + Brittain Ashford (Prairie Empire), and more.
Monday, November 09, 2020
This week, Dom La Nena’s song out of time; new music from Icelanders Olafur Arnalds and Björk; and a kora surprise from Ballaké Sissoko. Plus, Scottish singer-songwriter James Yorkston.
Monday, November 02, 2020
Week of Nov. 2: This week, calls to action from iLe, and from Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile, and a Halloween creepfest from Danny Elfman. Plus, hazy industrial electronica from Suuns.
Monday, October 26, 2020
Week of Oct. 26: This week, electronica Santeria by ÌFÉ, orchestral Sigur Ros, and… Pelé?! Plus, a pandemic collaboration from Shara Nova, Gaby Moreno, and German choir Cantus Domus.
Monday, October 19, 2020
This week, dance music from James Blake, a classic protest song remade by the Resistance Revival Chorus, and songwriter Omar Apollo dials in Mexican sounds from Indiana.
Monday, October 05, 2020
Week of Oct. 5: This week, Billie Eilish’s James Bond song, Emel’s Nirvana cover, and King Creosote’s Toy Camel. Plus, new music by Las Palabras and Bartees Strange.
Thursday, October 01, 2020
Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS present an evening of symphonic Mahler.