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.
Schaefer 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:
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Watch the Hong Kong-born, London-raised, Brooklyn based songwriter perform in the Soundcheck studio.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
When John Legend and Common performed “Glory” on the Academy Awards, it wasn’t just a stirring moment in an otherwise tedious evening: it was a reminder that protest songs still live on.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The pop singer known for songs like "It's My Party" and "You Don't Own Me," and later, as an advocate of LGBT rights, died at 68. Soundcheck's John Schaefer has this remembrance.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
On the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, we dug up a special program Soundcheck's John Schaefer created to commemorate the South African leader's historic visit.
Monday, February 09, 2015
A mostly-tepid night of too many performances and too few surprises, the 57th annual Grammy Awards did have some highlights. John Schaefer recaps the best and worst of the telecast.
Friday, February 06, 2015
With the 57th Grammy Awards coming up on Sunday, Feb. 8, Soundcheck's John Schaefer scans the nominees to predict who will win big in this year's biggest categories.
Friday, January 30, 2015
On the great folklorist's centennial, Soundcheck's John Schaefer looks at Lomax's legacy with 15 covers you wouldn’t know if it weren’t for his musical discoveries.
Monday, January 19, 2015
The singer-songwriter and activist's lovely new music video draws a line between the non-violent civil rights movement of the 1960s and the recent "Black Lives Matter" protests.
Friday, January 09, 2015
On a classic movie bender, Soundcheck's John Schaefer explores a pair of songs that name-check horror and sci-fi films like 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and 'The Invisible Man.'
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
At a time when bands reform as quickly as they break up, Soundcheck's John Schaefer mulls over what it means for a band to part ways and how soon it will before they reunite.
Friday, January 02, 2015
Soundcheck's John Schaefer turns his ears towards the new year with some things he's excited to hear in 2015, even if some of them are wishful thinking (ahem Joanna Newsom).
Monday, December 22, 2014
The rock icon known for songs like "Feelin' Alright" and his Beatles cover "With A Little Help From My Friends" has died at 70. Soundcheck's John Schaefer has this remembrance.
Monday, December 15, 2014
From a scorching breakthrough performance on Letterman to the Scandinavian explosion, Soundcheck host John Schaefer shares his favorite musical moments of 2014.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
"Silent Night" is not just a great Christmas song. It's a great song. Period. Here are the five best versions of the most-recorded holiday tune of all time.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
The surprise winners of the U.K.'s prestigious Mercury Prize offer a surprise track that may or may not hint at the sound of new music to come.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
For many rock music fans in the '70s, the design team known as Hipgnosis were the pinnacle of album cover art. Has anyone since ever come close?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, so let’s talk for the moment about the life preserver the record labels are currently clinging to: The box set.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
In January, Emmy The Great is set to release an EP simple titled S. But why wait til 2015, when you can watch the video for her new single, "Swimming Pool."
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Henry Jackson, better know as Big Bank Hank, died Tuesday. Soundcheck's John Schaefer reflects on the lasting influence of Hank's voice and the classic track "Rapper's Delight."
Sunday, November 09, 2014
The Roxy Music singer channels his classic work while still sounding fresh. Ferry's sound remains full, clear and direct, with layers of instruments shifting in and out of focus.