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, October 11, 2021
This week, a shiny new song from Robert Glasper and eagerly-awaited returns for Cat Power and Mitski. Plus, Spanish rapper Tangana on belief and miracles.
Monday, October 04, 2021
This week, a cross-cultural premiere, a new elbow song with an old elbow title, and a stunning soul revue from the Apollo featuring Charles Bradley. Plus, new Susana Baca, and more.
Friday, October 01, 2021
WNYC’s John Schaefer walked through the Lab with Tim McHenry of the Rubin Museum and composer Bora Yoon.
Monday, September 27, 2021
This week, echoes of summer from Alt-J and Ben LaMar Gay feat. Ohmme; a video game soundtrack from Japanese Breakfast; and South African electronic music producers Native Soul.
Monday, September 20, 2021
The Buena Vista Social Club keeps on giving; orchestral blues-rock from Larkin Poe; and music for autumn in New York by Makaya McCraven. Plus, brass band hijinks from Fanfare Ciocarlia.
Monday, September 13, 2021
ABBA is just as ABBA as ever; Afro-Cuban futurism from ÌFÉ; and Curtis Harding’s vintage soul. Plus, Brooklyn singer and rapper Spencer., and a tongue-in-cheeky love song by Sean Rowe.
Monday, September 06, 2021
This week, premieres of Latin folk-fusion from Baracutanga and Carolina soul from Big James Barrett and the Golden Jubilees, plus Kanye and Drake race to the bottom.
Monday, August 30, 2021
This week, a subversive murder ballad from Marissa Nadler, an answer song to all those internet cat videos from Caribou, and the loss of Jamaican music legend, Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
A re-air of our evening special from last summer, 'WNYC At Curfew,' amidst the racial justice protests. Alison discusses the history of protest music with WNYC's John Schaefer.
Monday, August 23, 2021
A celebration of old-school soul from the Apollo Theater, Parquet Courts' ode to crowded city streets, new age pop from Lorde, and a creeptastic film score by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
Monday, August 16, 2021
This week, musical returns for Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Big Thief, and Aluna. Plus, new music by harpist Brandee Younger, shoegazers Yeah Baby, and NY garage rockers Loose Buttons.
Monday, August 09, 2021
New music from some of the usual suspects (The Weeknd, RZA) and unusual ones (Adam Driver? Marion Cotillard?). Plus, Adia Victoria's A Southern Gothic and Julie Fowlis with Hawktail.
Monday, August 02, 2021
This week, posthumous Prince, Brazilian Billie Eilish, and Yola’s summery pop. Plus, Colombian dance band Bomba Estereo and Nigerian superstar Yemi Alade, and Los Tangueros del Oeste.
Monday, July 26, 2021
With live performances slowly returning, we're checking in with different corners of New York City's music scene to see how musicians have weathered the pandemic.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Hear new takes on old songs by Derek & The Dominoes, folk singer Shirley Collins, Elvis Costello, and Beverly Glenn-Copeland. Plus, JG Thirlwell as Xordox and new Joan As Police Woman.
Monday, July 12, 2021
This week, Jorge Drexler’s Uruguayan gospel, Quantic’s cumbia-rock, classical electronica from Attacca Quartet, and Courtney Barnett’s eventual return.
Monday, July 05, 2021
The British are coming (again) in The Go! Team, Laura Mvula, and Rival Consoles, supergroup Big Red Machine reconvenes, and a new (old) kind of Latin music from John Linnell.
Friday, July 02, 2021
As New York gets started on what looks to be a summer of live performances, we're checking in with different corners of the city's music scene.
Monday, June 28, 2021
This week, new music from composer and vocalist Caroline Shaw with So Percussion, Toronto rapper Shad, and American musician Helado Negro; also RIP Jon Hassell and Frederic Rzewski.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
The Koch administration was too busy pulling the city back from near bankruptcy to bother with cabaret laws, so club sprouted up all over the city.