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, September 25, 2023
The National surprises; a gothic turn for rapper 070 Shake; and Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca. Plus, David Cieri’s new score to an old film, and lap-tapping guitarist Yasmin Williams.
Monday, September 18, 2023
This week, Nas turns 50; Mitski finds love in an inhospitable land; Sufjan Stevens wonders if he’ll find love anywhere.
Monday, September 11, 2023
The Stones, still rolling; Yungchen Lhamo’s global prayer for kindness; Allison Russell confronts her demons; and sax player James Brandon Lewis's tribute to Mahalia Jackson.
Monday, September 04, 2023
This week, winter memories from Omar Apollo, returns for Speedy Ortiz and Beirut, and a change of pace from Nicki Minaj.
Monday, August 28, 2023
This week, Prince through the looking glass, Mon Laferte’s trip-hop bolero, and a posthumous stunner from trumpeter jaimie branch. Plus new discodelica from Say She She, and more.
Monday, August 21, 2023
This week: Dolly Parton, rock star; Polo G’s moving ballad; and Amore Muere’s dark debut. Plus, ambient pop by Vines (Cassie Wieland) and Afropop-leaning music by Black Market Brass.
Monday, August 07, 2023
This week, Dessa dances while the world burns; Lily & Madeleine offer sibling harmony; Joshua Redman’s musical travelogue begins in Baltimore. Also, Mary Lattimore and Mance Lipscomb.
Monday, July 31, 2023
Bobby Rush’s classic blues, Chief Adjuah’s new/old take on New Orleans and West African music, and an anthem from Beverly Glenn-Copeland.
Monday, July 24, 2023
The 90s return with Blur and Slowdive; the release of a live show favorite by Big Thief; an imaginary film score by Shakey Graves; and a thrilling duet from Sofía Rei and Jorge Roeder.
Monday, July 17, 2023
Billie Eilish’s “Barbie” song, Ladaniva’s almost Balkan track, and Erick the Architect’s collaboration with James Blake. Plus, Andrew Bird, A. Savage, Explosions In The Sky, and CMAT.
Monday, June 26, 2023
This week, a NOLA party with Big Freedia, celebrations of Indigenous culture from Elisapie and Saltwater Hank, and new singles from Palace and Wye Oak.
Monday, June 12, 2023
This week, an enigmatic song from PJ Harvey, a blast of pop from Shamir, and the global fusion of Bokanté. Plus, warm, homespun songs from This Is The Kit.
Monday, June 05, 2023
“Bob’s knack for pulling back the curtain and revealing the people who made the music was incredibly important for me as an aspiring college radio DJ.”
Monday, June 05, 2023
This week, the play of light and dark in songs by Silvana Estrada, Lanterns On The Lake, and Ben Harper. And a dark debut from soccer legend Eric Cantona.
Monday, May 29, 2023
This week, returns for songwriter Anjimile and Canadian singer/pianist Jeremy Dutcher; a tribute to Low by Sylvan Esso; and emotive dance music from Bayonne.
Monday, May 22, 2023
This week, Paul Simon’s psalms, Anohni’s prayer for understanding, and Gershwin’s inadvertent surfing safari. Plus songs by June McDoom and Dudu Tassa & Jonny Greenwood.
Monday, May 15, 2023
An Afro-Caribbean premiere by Yasser Tejeda; an Indo-chamber-bluegrass work by Bela Fleck et al; and a new song from Christine & The Queens. Plus, South London's Speakers Corner Quartet.
Monday, May 08, 2023
Ed Sheeran’s sonic surprise; cosmic R&B from Meshell Ndegeocello; and a new Afro-Latin jazz sound from Avishai Cohen and Abe Rodriguez. Plus songs by Danielle Ponder and Peter Gabriel.
Monday, May 01, 2023
This week, things get weird in songs by The God In Hackney and Goldfeather, and a half century of dance moves from Alex Anwandter and Monsieur Perine. Plus, a Doc Watson tribute album.
Friday, April 28, 2023
Sam Green's newest immersive documentary, now playing at Film Forum, breaks the conventional rules in exploring how we perceive, process and feel the world around us through sound.