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: Beyoncé, Camila Cabello, and Ceu

Monday, April 01, 2024

New Sounds
This week, Beyoncé’s “country album” drops; John Cale unveils a new single; and Camilo Cabello leaves “Havana” behind. Also new songs by Ceu and Arab Strap. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Shakira, Bat For Lashes, Gossip

Monday, March 25, 2024

New Sounds
This week, long-awaited returns for Shakira, Gossip, and Bat For Lashes. Also, Tanzanian pop, Manchester grooves from elbow, and a new take on a Sondheim classic.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Brian Eno, Tierra Whack, and Adrianne Lenker

Monday, March 18, 2024

New Sounds
Brian Eno looks back, Philly rapper Tierra Whack returns, and a Neneh Cherry 80s hit gets a total remake. Plus solo outings by Fabi Reyna (She Shreds) and Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Moor Mother, Eels, and Ledisi

Monday, March 11, 2024

New Sounds
Moor Mother finds history repeating; Eels mark the passage of time; and Ledisi considers the “Good Life.” Also, new music from John Lurie, Kinky, and Las Cafeteras.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Bruce Hornsby + yMusic, Julia Holter, and Amaro Freitas

Monday, March 04, 2024

New Sounds
There's seafaring music from Bruce Hornsby & yMusic; Julia Holter in an evening mood; and the inventive Brazilian pianist Amaro Freitas. Plus, Ani DiFranco’s urgent, rocking “Baby Doe.”
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Weekly Music Roundup: PJ Morton, Combo Chimbita, Omar Souleyman

Monday, February 26, 2024

New Sounds
American musician PJ Morton (keyboards in Maroon 5) goes to Africa, Combo Chimbita goes back to their cumbia roots, and British singer-songwriter Nadine Shah comes back from the brink.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Beyoncé, James Brown, and Nathalie Joachim

Monday, February 19, 2024

New Sounds
This week, Beyoncé's big surprise, James Brown’s even bigger surprise, and S. Raekwon’s sinister smile. Plus, Nathalie Joachim and the American Patchwork Quartet.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Usher, Angelica Garcia, and Jon Muq

Monday, February 12, 2024

New Sounds
This week, Usher and the American indie rock band the Decemberists; the studio project Church Chords and Ugandan singer/guitarist Jon Muq, and a avant-pop from Angelica Garcia.  
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Weekly Music Roundup: The Last Dinner Party, Mali Obomsawin, and Billy Joel

Monday, February 05, 2024

New Sounds
The Last Dinner Party is invited to the States and bassist Mali Obomsawin makes a musical pivot. Plus, a tribute to Nashville songwriter Alice Randall, Ibibio Sound Machine, and more. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Brittany Howard, Heems, and The Smile

Monday, January 29, 2024

New Sounds
This week, new singles from guitarist and bandleader Brittany Howard and the rapper Heems; returns for The Smile and The Staves, and a bass summit with a sense of humor.   
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Weekly Music Roundup: Helado Negro, Kaia Kater, and BIG|BRAVE

Monday, January 15, 2024

New Sounds
Helado Negro ponders a breakup; Kaia Kater trashes the internet; and Big Brave offers a metal-adjacent take on Emily Dickinson. Plus, Les Amazones d’Afrique and Alejandro Escovedo. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Nathalie Joachim, Erick the Architect, Sprints

Monday, January 08, 2024

New Sounds
This week, previews of 2024 releases by Nathalie Joachim and Erick the Architect, plus Bela Fleck’s Rhapsody in Blue(grass). Also, Sprints’ debut LP and an Anne Briggs cover.
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The Elves and the Cello Maker: A Christmas Audio Drama

Thursday, December 21, 2023

For the final episode from the Artist Propulsion Lab class of 2023, cellist Zlatomir Fung wrote a new Christmas audio drama, The Elves and the Cello Maker, based on the Brothers' Grim...

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Weekly Music Roundup: John Legend, Lau Noah, and Ambrose Akinmusire

Monday, December 18, 2023

New Sounds
New this week: a film and song by John Legend; a thought-provoking track by Jason Isbell; trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s new trio; and songs by Lau Noah, Emel, and Hermanos Gutierrez. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Nicki MInaj, Britti, and IDLES

Monday, December 11, 2023

New Sounds
This week, the debut of New Orleans singer Britti; Nicki Minaj channels Cyndi Lauper; IDLES channels The Beatles; and Lara Downes gets a jump on a big anniversary. 
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Weekly Music Roundup: Peter Gabriel, Nailah Hunter, and Czarface

Monday, December 04, 2023

New Sounds
This week, Peter Gabriel’s new album i/o, finally; plus Czarface returns; Nailah Hunter previews her debut LP, and Montreal-based vocalist and composer Erika Angell's solo album.  
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Listen On-Demand: Les Violons du Roy

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Hear Les Violons du Roy's performance featuring guitarist Miloš at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, November 30.

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Weekly Music Roundup: Björk, featuring Rosalia, RZA, and Büşra Kayıkçı

Monday, November 27, 2023

New Sounds
There's a protest song from Björk, featuring Rosalia, a “Fashionable” single by RZA, and a post-classical take on Radiohead. Plus, Amos Lee covers Lucinda Williams, and more.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Ali Sethi & Nicolas Jaar, boygenius & Ye Vagabonds

Monday, November 20, 2023

New Sounds
Collaborations from Pakistani-American singer Ali Sethi and Chilean-American producer Nicolas Jaar, Irish rappers Kneecap & Grian Chatten, and boygenius & Dublin-based duo Ye Vagabonds.
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Weekly Roundup: Sinkane, Okan, and Julia Holter

Monday, November 13, 2023

New Sounds
Collaborations from Sinkane with Tru Osborne; Sleater-Kinney with a star of Succession; and KRS-One (BDP) with Da Beatminerz. Also, new music by Julia Holter, Okan, and Sam Akpro.
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