John Schaefer

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.

Schaefer 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:

The Greene Space

Soundcheck Live: The Lone Bellow

Monday, March 30, 2015

1:00 PM

Mon. March 30 1pm| The Lone Bellow visits The Greene Space for a live Soundcheck session highlighting songs from its latest record, Then Came the Morning.

Listen Live: All-Star 80th Birthday Celebration for Terry Riley

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tonight, March 18 at 7:30 pm, join us for a live audio stream of Terry Riley's 80th Birthday Concert, live from the Ecstatic Music Festival and hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer. 

Comments [2]

Unlikely Savior For the Music Industry: Your 12-Year-Old

Thursday, March 12, 2015

As the music industry struggled to keep older buyers and fans, it's discovered that tweens are the ultimate renewable resource —  as long as the artists sort of act their age.


Now Saving The Music Industry: Your 12-Year-Old

Sunday, March 08, 2015

As the music industry struggled to keep older buyers and fans, it's discovered that tweens are the ultimate renewable resource—as long as the artists sort of act their age.
Read More


The Greene Space

Soundcheck Live: Torres

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

12:30 PM

Tues, Mar. 3, 12:30pm | Torres drops by to demo her serious guitar chops and preview her new "space cowboy album," Sprinter, out in May.

Emmy The Great: Elegant Pop And Poetic Wordplay

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Watch the Hong Kong-born, London-raised, Brooklyn based songwriter perform in the Soundcheck studio.

Comments [1]

Listen: Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert

Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Feb. 26, the Bang on a Can All-Stars presented world premieres of new music by Wilco's Glenn Kotche, Jace Clayton (aka DJ/rupture) and Donnacha Dennehy. Listen to the entire concert.


Where Have All The Protest Songs Gone?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When John Legend and Common performed “Glory” on the Academy Awards, it wasn’t just a stirring moment in an otherwise tedious evening: it was a reminder that protest songs still live on.
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Why Lesley Gore Mattered

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The pop singer known for songs like "It's My Party" and "You Don't Own Me," and later, as an advocate of LGBT rights, died at 68. Soundcheck's John Schaefer has this remembrance. 
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Hear This Newly Unearthed Gem Celebrating Nelson Mandela's Trip to NYC

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, we dug up a special program Soundcheck's John Schaefer created to commemorate the South African leader's historic visit.


What the 2015 Grammys Got Right and Wrong

Monday, February 09, 2015

The 57th annual Grammy Awards were last night, and the big winners were Sam Smith and Beck, while Taylor Swift had a rough time. Soundcheck's John Schaefer re-hashes how it played out.

Comments [1]

A Night Of Highs And Lows At The 2015 Grammy Awards

Monday, February 09, 2015

A mostly-tepid night of too many performances and too few surprises, the 57th annual Grammy Awards did have some highlights. John Schaefer recaps the best and worst of the telecast.
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Who Will (And Should) Win At This Year’s Grammy Awards?

Friday, February 06, 2015

With the 57th Grammy Awards coming up on Sunday, Feb. 8, Soundcheck's John Schaefer scans the nominees to predict who will win big in this year's biggest categories.
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Comments [1]

The Greene Space

Battle of the Boroughs 2015: Manhattan

Friday, February 6, 2015

7:00 PM

Fri, Feb. 6 | Sold Out- Manhattan is sold out, but join us for the Bronx on Feb. 13. Manhattan takes the stage in our quest to find New York City's best up-and-coming musical act. 

Jonathan Schwartz + John Schaefer + Bob Dylan

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Bob Dylan is not a guest on today's show, but WNYC's Jonathan Schwartz and John Schaefer join us to discuss his new Sinatra cover album. 

Comments [23]

The Greene Space

Soundcheck Pop Up: Buster Poindexter

Monday, February 2, 2015

2:00 PM

Mon, Feb. 2 | Buster Poindexter ushers in our new Soundcheck Pop Up Sessions.

Alan Lomax Heard America Sing, We Heard It Rock

Friday, January 30, 2015

On the great folklorist's centennial, Soundcheck's John Schaefer looks at Lomax's legacy with 15 covers you wouldn’t know if it weren’t for his musical discoveries.
Read More

Comments [2]

Jen Chapin's 'Gospel' Honors Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The singer-songwriter and activist's lovely new music video draws a line between the non-violent civil rights movement of the 1960s and the recent "Black Lives Matter" protests.
Read More

Comments [8]

A World Of Sci-fi And Horror Classics In Two Songs

Friday, January 09, 2015

On a classic movie bender, Soundcheck's John Schaefer explores a pair of songs that name-check horror and sci-fi films like 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and 'The Invisible Man.'
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We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together... Probably

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

At a time when bands reform as quickly as they break up, Soundcheck's John Schaefer mulls over what it means for a band to part ways and how soon it will before they reunite.

Comments [6]