John Schaefer

Host

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.  

Shows:

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Weekly Music Roundup: Balún, Kamasi Washington, and Jenny Hval

Monday, April 16, 2018

New Sounds
Week of April 16: This week, new works by Kamasi Washington and Jenny Hval; a new video from Brooklyn-via-San Juan group Balún, and some musical advice on Making America Great Again.
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The Uncompromising Cecil Taylor

Friday, April 06, 2018

Pianist Cecil Taylor, one of the fathers of free jazz, passed away last night at the age of 89. In this 2007 interview with John Schaefer, Taylor discussed how mutation is everything.
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Weekly Music Roundup: The Weeknd, Sons of Kemet, and Brazilian Girls

Monday, April 02, 2018

New Sounds
Week of April 2: This week, new music from The Weeknd, Sons of Kemet, and Brazilian Girls.
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Musical Sunrises

Saturday, March 31, 2018

It happens every day — darkness scatters as the sun rises, and color returns to the world. Even though it is, literally, an everyday occurrence, it’s also a magical one.

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Weekly Music Roundup: Pussy Riot, Tinariwen, and Yo La Tengo

Monday, March 19, 2018

New Sounds
Week of March 19: This week, musical reactions to a troubled world from Pussy Riot, Roger Waters, and Yo La Tengo. Plus new videos from Tinariwen and Courtney Barnett.
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Music from Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 17, 2018

 Ireland is a deeply musical place, but it doesn’t have much of a reputation for classical music. That is changing though, with a vibrant scene centered in Dublin.

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Are Angels Always So Nice?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Look in any greeting card store and you’ll see cute, chubby little angels smiling and gazing upwards beatifically. But what about in music? Are angels always so ... nice?

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Weekly Music Roundup: kwes, Chvrches, and Sidi Touré

Monday, March 05, 2018

New Sounds
Week of March 5: This week, a moving Oscar performance, Malian rock from Sidi Touré, London producer kwes, and Brooklyn punk from Bodega.
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Jonny Greenwood, Carter Burwell Among Oscar Nominees for Best Original Score

Saturday, March 03, 2018

This year’s nominees for the Academy Award for Best Original Score include some of film’s most illustrious names. Unlike last year’s field however there are no women among the nominees.
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'David Bowie Is' Reaches Its Final Destination, the Brooklyn Museum

Friday, March 02, 2018

The exhibition “David Bowie Is” has spent the last five years on tour, circling the globe, visiting 11 museums on five continents. The final stop is the Brooklyn Museum.

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Poll: Which Film Will Take Home the Oscar for Best Score?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Will it be “Phantom Thread”? Or will John Williams pick up his sixth Academy Award with another “Star Wars” score?
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A New Organ For Manhattan’s Oldest Church

Thursday, February 22, 2018

St. Paul’s Chapel, “The Little Chapel That Stood,” celebrates a new instrument with a weeklong festival.

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Weekly Music Roundup: Courtney Barnett, Rafiq Bhatia, and Howie Lee

Monday, February 19, 2018

This week, new music from Beach House to Beijing, Rafiq Bhatia and Punjab Tronix, plus a new Courtney Barnett record is coming.
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Beyond Words

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The idea of using the voice as an instrument rather than as the carrier of a text is a relatively recent development, at least in Western classical music.

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Remembering Jóhann Jóhannsson

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who died Feb. 9, aged 48, was the rare experimental musician whose work crossed over to the general public. John Schaefer looks back on his legacy.
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Tombeau

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Join John Schaefer on The Furthermore as he explores the old tradition among classical music composers of writing memorial pieces for colleagues who have passed on. 

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Chaconnes and Passacaglias

Saturday, February 03, 2018

In the Baroque era, the chaconne and its close relative the passacaglia were favorite musical forms — and they've both had a remarkable revival in contemporary music. 

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Mostly Mozart, Sort Of…

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Mozart was directly responsible for over 600 works, but since his death he's also been indirectly responsible for hundreds of pieces. Hear the composers who have been inspired by Mozart.

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Hugh Masekela, South Africa’s Musical Ambassador, Dies At 78

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

South African trumpeter, singer and composer Hugh Masekela, one of the most effective ambassadors for his country in the rest of the world died today, Jan. 23, 2018.
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Memories in Music

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Memory can be a tricky thing. Some memories are pretty straightforward; others are fraught. Take German composer Max Richter’s 2002 collection memoryhouse, about 20th century Europe.

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