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:

'Largest Hip Hop Festival in the World' Is in NYC for First Time This Weekend

Friday, October 11, 2019

Headliners this weekend include Wu Tang Clan, the Bronx's Casanova, ASAP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert.

Comments [3]

Weekly Music Roundup: The Comet Is Coming and Songs of the Bardo

Monday, September 30, 2019

New Sounds
Week of Sept. 30: Two different takes on “spiritual jazz”: one by Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, and Jesse Paris Smith and one by The Comet Is Coming, plus new The New Pornographers.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: FKA twigs, Angel Olsen and Luke Temple

Monday, September 16, 2019

New Sounds
Week of September 16: This week, new music from FKA twigs, Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, and Luke Temple.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: The Hold Steady, Ala.Ni, Ikebe Shakedown

Monday, August 19, 2019

Week of Aug. 19: This week, The Hold Steady channels Led Zeppelin; the singer Ala.Ni celebrates our differences; and another lost album by John Coltrane is found.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Rare "Barbershop Gospel" Reissues, iLe, and Bat for Lashes

Monday, August 12, 2019

New Sounds
Week of Aug. 12: This week, reissued "barbershop gospel" rarities, a Springsteen soundtrack, new songs from Bat for Lashes and iLE, along with Bon Iver’s 8-part surprise.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: HAIM, Dizraeli, and Penguin Café

Monday, August 05, 2019

New Sounds
Week of Aug. 5: This week, HAIM celebrates summer, songs about penguins by Penguin Café, the decidedly NOT-punk IDLES, and a band whose name means 'remove worry.'
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Wilco, Resavoir, and Beyoncé

Monday, July 22, 2019

New Sounds
Week of July 22: This week, sounds from West Africa, and Chicago, courtesy of Beyoncé, Wilco, and more, and music from Senegal by Shaheed & Dixa, Featuring Marieme.
Read More

Comment

The Secret Sound Of The Vessel Orchestra

Friday, July 12, 2019

Look around you.  Chances are there’s something nearby — a jar, a vase, a bottle, a glass — that is silently singing. 

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Frank Turner, Tanya Tucker, and Vanessa Wagner

Monday, July 08, 2019

New Sounds
Week of July 8: A spooky summer soundtrack from Bobby Krlic, aka The Haxan Cloak, a celebration of women in history by Frank Turner, and the return of country outlaw Tanya Tucker.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Lucy Dacus, San Fermin, and Fantastic Negrito

Monday, July 01, 2019

New Sounds
Week of July 1: This week, a “holiday” song from Lucy Dacus, some avant-pop from San Fermin, a trippy musical trip out west, and a new video from Grammy-winning Fantastic Negrito. 
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Angélique Kidjo, Bat for Lashes, and Team Dresch

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Sounds
This week, a tribute to the Queen of Salsa from Angélique Kidjo, a new album from Santana, romance and menace by Bat for Lashes, and the return of queer punk icons Team Dresch.
Read More

Comment

A Brief, Strange History of 20th Century Europe

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The German-born composer and director Heiner Goebbels returns to the Park Avenue Armory with an ambitious work Everything That Happened And Will Happen.

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Philip Bailey and Lila Downs

Monday, May 13, 2019

New Sounds
Week of May 13: This week, looking back to the 70s with Philip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire, Lila Downs, and Doomsquad. Plus Flying Lotus teams up with Anderson .Paak, and more.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Stormzy, Kelly Moran, and The Oddysy

Monday, April 29, 2019

New Sounds
Week of April 29: This week – musical returns for Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, and Stormzy. Plus new music by The Oddysy and Chuck D, Kelly Moran, and The Mystery Lights. 
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Ellen Reid And Immigrant Songs

Monday, April 15, 2019

New Sounds
This week, hear immigrant songs from T-Bone Burnett and Sinkane, plus Ellen Reid wins the Pulitzer Prize winner for Music, and Aretha Franklin's Special Citation.
Read More

Comment

Roll Over Rembrandt: Rock & Roll Comes To the Met

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has collaborated with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on a new exhibition called "Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll." 

Comments [1]

Weekly Music Roundup: Blitz the Ambassador and Tamino

Monday, April 01, 2019

New Sounds
Week of April 1: This week, music from a Ghanaian musician/film maker, a Belgian singer/model, and a California rocker/NPR fan. 
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Dexter Story, Malawi's Lazarus, and Angelique Kidjo

Monday, March 18, 2019

New Sounds
This week, (almost) all roads lead to Africa with Angelique Kidjo’s Celia Cruz tribute, Dexter Story's Ethiopop-influenced music, Carlos Santana with Buika, and Malawi's Lazarus.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Fémina, Little Simz, and Reese McHenry

Monday, March 04, 2019

New Sounds
Week of March 4: This week, a different kind of resistance song, a different kind of hip hop, and some classic garage rock.
Read More

Comment

Weekly Music Roundup: Omar Apollo and Better Oblivion Community Center

Monday, February 04, 2019

New Sounds
This week, Billie Eilish and Omar Apollo: youth is served; The Mountain Goats offer an epic war story, and echoes of Ethiopia by Dexter Story. Plus, Better Oblivion Community Center.
Read More

Comment