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.

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

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:

Weekly Music Roundup: NY Phil at 175 & I'm With Her

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week of December 11: Sufjan Stevens Sings About Tonya Harding; Songwriter Grace Carter at 20; the New York Philharmonic at 175, and the supergroup I'm With Her.
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The Best of 2017

Saturday, December 02, 2017

This time on The Furthermore, we look back at some memorable musical events in 2017.


Welcome! Your Favorite Homes for New Music Under One Roof

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

This is the NEW New Sounds website! Here, finally, in one place, are all the major musical threads that New York Public Radio has been weaving into its programming over the years.
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Indie-pop band Dizzy at Public Arts

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Canadian band Dizzy just released a single called “Swim,” a twilit, nostalgia-tinged slice of indie-pop. It's part of our Weekly Music Roundup. 

Weekly Music Roundup: Dizzy, Shame & U2

Monday, November 27, 2017

Week of Nov. 27: This week, looking ahead to U2, Canadian band Dizzy, Finnish trio Lake Jons, and a look back at ECM Records.
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Watch: Martha Argerich and Rome’s Santa Cecilia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

Friday, October 20, 2017

Watch a special presentation of Carnegie Hall Live featuring the legendary pianist Martha Argerich and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Comments [6]

Fall Culture Moment: Music

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New music to look out for this season.


For Pierre Boulez, It's All About the Space

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Feeling sound travel at a rare performance of 'Répons,' by the late French composer Pierre Boulez at the Park Avenue Armory.

Comments [2]

Michael Tilson Thomas Leads the San Francisco Symphony in Mahler

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS present an evening of symphonic Mahler.

Comments [1]

Weekly Music Roundup: Balkan Brass Rap & "Loving Vincent"

Monday, September 25, 2017

This week, a film score premiere, a Balkan brass band collaborates with an underground rapper, and a report from Chicago’s South Side.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Moses Sumney and Mexican Institute of Sound

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week of Sept. 11, 2017: This week, a host of collaborations including Mount Kimbie & King Krule, Daniel Luppi, Karen O, & Parquet Courts, new Moses Sumney, & an ode to a T-shirt.
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Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Milton Babbitt Set the Words of the Late Poet John Ashbery

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery passed away on Monday at the age of 90. Listen to an archival performance of his work, set by some of America's most renowned composers.
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Comments [3]

Weekly Music Roundup: Neil Young's Brand New 41-Year-Old Album

Monday, August 07, 2017

Week of August 7: This week, Neil Young's brand new 41-year-old album, Afrocentric music from the Souljazz Orchestra, new music from the London Contemporary Orchestra and more.
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Weekly Music Roundup: Dollshot & Shabazz Palaces

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week of July 10: This week, Ke$sha Becomes Kesha; Dollshot premiere "Lalande," and Webster Hall Is About To Become History
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New Sounds Presents: Lee Ranaldo, Steve Gunn and Dom Flemons

Thursday, June 08, 2017

John Schaefer wraps the New York Guitar Festival with performances by Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, singer-songwriter Steve Gunn and Grammy Award-winning folk artist Dom Flemons.


100 Years On, the First Recording of Jazz Tells the Story of America

Friday, June 02, 2017

It's been 100 years since the first piece of commercial jazz was recorded by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Comments [1]

New Sounds Presents: Trixie Whitley and Marc Ribot

Thursday, June 01, 2017

John Schaefer hosts an evening of performances by indie rocker Trixie Whitley and guitarist-composer Marc Ribot. 


New Sounds Presents: Margaret Glaspy and Julian Lage

Thursday, May 25, 2017

John Schaefer hosts performances by indie rocker Margaret Glaspy and Julian Lage, one of the most formidable jazz guitarists of his generation. 


New York Guitar Festival: Sharon Isbin, Alberta Khoury, Tengyue Zhang and Colin Davin

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Sounds' John Schaefer hosts a diverse cast of guitar slingers performing newly commissioned works and special collaborations. 

Comments [1]

Listen: 2017 Ecstatic Music Festival Launches with Bang on a Can All-Stars

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Jan. 9 we kicked off the 2017 Ecstatic Music Festival with a live stream of the Bang on a Can All-Stars annual People's Commissioning Fund Concert. Listen to the full show.