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.
Fred Ho, the baritone sax player, composer, and bandleader, died this weekend in Brooklyn. He was 56. And that tells you nothing you need to know about Fred Ho. Soundcheck host John Schaefer reflects on the life of the iconoclast musician and political activist.
Hear the new album from the Tropicalia pioneer in its entirety and download the song “A Bossa Nova E Foda” before it's release on March 25.
You couldn’t make it to South By Southwest this year? That’s okay. Soundcheck's John Schaefer didn’t go either. So, what shall we do this week, here in New York City -- which is suddenly only the second-best musical center in the country? Well, here are some suggestions.
All week, Soundcheck challenged listeners to nominate The Most Romantic Song Ever -- and to make a case for why that song was right and all the hundreds of other songs people were suggesting were somehow wrong. Soundcheck host John Schaefer wades through the results and presents this crowd-sourced playlist.
Hear select performances from the 2014 New York Guitar Festival Marathon, held at New York's Merkin Concert Hall.
Pete Seeger wasn’t just a folk singer: He was the model, the exemplar of what most Americans mean when they say “folk singer.” Soundcheck host John Schaefer has this remembrance of the folk artist and activist, who died Monday at age 94.
The Hold Steady is set release Teeth Dreams, its first record since 2010's Heaven Is Whenever on March 25 and the band has given fans a first taste with the song "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You." Members of the Soundcheck team give the new track a spin and have these first impressions.
The year is only a little over a week old, but Soundcheck host John Schaefer thinks John Newman's single "Love Me Again" may be the next big thing from the U.K.
It may seem odd to trumpet New York’s musical clout in a year when New York’s biggest names did not rise to the occasion. But New York music still ruled the world in 2013. Soundcheck host John Schaefer counts down his top ten reasons why.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and a treasured symbol of hope in the struggle against racial oppression, died Thursday at 95. Soundcheck host John Schaefer has this musical remembrance.
All November, WNYC's classical music sister station is celebrating Mozart Month. Soundcheck host John Schaefer shares this handy A-Z guide to the prolific icon.
The author and musician James McBride won The National Book Award for his novel The Good Lord Bird. Soundcheck host John Schaefer reflects on the book and talking to McBride in a recent session with his band.
British composer Sir John Tavener, whose music stretched far beyond the classical world, has died at age 69. Soundcheck host John Schaefer has this remembrance.
John Schaefer remembers the iconic, enigmatic Velvet Underground co-founder and solo artist
For one night, at least, the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center might have been the hippest venue in New York, thanks to last night's American premiere of Two Boys, the opera by the gifted young composer Nico Muhly. Soundcheck host John Schaefer was there and has this review.
Every week brings a new batch of new music releases before you've even had a chance to catch up and digest the last ones. So to help, members of the Soundcheck team share some of their favorites of the week, including Lucius, The Dismemberment Plan, and Tim Hecker.
Inspired by the upcoming CBGB film, Soundcheck host John Schaefer recalls at least some of his early experiences with punk with a playlist.
Alex Winston's voice may provokes inevitable comparisons to Kate Bush, but her songwriting is distinctly her own. Hear "101 Vultures," a brand new song from Winston that hints at what to expect on her next album.
All this week, Soundcheck is marking the 30th anniversary of the Material Girl’s first album, and we’re asking listeners and readers to share their "Madonna Moment." Soundcheck host John Schaefer shares his, which involves Spin Magazine's first cover.
The indie rock band once called We Are Augstines has now changed its name to simply Augustines. The band has also unveiled a new track "Cruel City" for an album due in January.