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.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer listens to a lot of music over the course of a week. Here's three of his favorite tracks that caught his ear, both for the music and the stories behind them.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer remembers the musician that lurked among the crowded cast of characters in Williams’ mind.
In The Valley Below could probably just do bright synth-pop, but what you get instead is something slightly more subversive. The Los Angeles duo's upcoming album, The Belt, isn't out for a few weeks yet, but the band has already unveiled a handful of songs with killer hooks and edgy guitars.
This past weekend saw the premiere of Sila, a new immersive work by this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, John Luther Adams. Soundcheck host John Schaefer was there and has these thoughts on the unconventional work, and the siren he heard out on the streets outside Lincoln Center.
Last night, after nearly seven years away pursuing other projects, Nickel Creek brought its reunion to Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. And they wasted no time in showing that they haven't lost their ability to delight with its deep roots in American string band music.
The British band James is returning with La Petite Mort, its first new album in six years. Watch the remarkable and poignant music video for the band's song "Moving On."
This World Cup had it all: A huge haul of goals, but also stunning goalkeeping, stout defense, lots of late drama, overachieving minnows and mighty giants brought low. Soundcheck host John Schaefer says it was also the year soccer/football ascended into the hearts of more Americans than ever.
For years, jazz trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas and keyboardist Uri Caine have collaborated on all sorts of projects. But with Present Joys, they're finally recording as a duo.
With the World Cup final coming up on Sunday, Soundcheck host, and Germany supporter, John Schaefer, runs through the match up of titans, and tries to guess who the Brazilians will root for: the German team that destroyed them earlier this week, or their arch-rivals, Argentina.
If you’ve been watching the World Cup on ESPN and/or ABC, then you may have noticed that most of the announcers are British. This is quite a comfort to the growing number of American fans of the English Premier League, where we’ve become used to announcers who are knowledgeable but also sound like they've read a book or two in their time. However, in soccer as in so many other things, England and America are two countries separated by a common tongue. The language of soccer uses familiar words that, in this context, have specific and often unfamiliar meanings. So just in time for the semifinals, Soundcheck host John Schaefer presents a little Soccer-English-To-English glossary.
After this weekend's World Cup action, there are now four teams left for the semi-finals. One of these games pits two countries with estimable musical traditions against each other -- Netherlands and Argentina. The other features two of the world's musical giants -- Germany and Brazil. Soundcheck host John Schaefer explores the match-ups and offers up some musical suggestions.
For two weeks, Soundcheck host John Schaefer went down the rabbit hole that is the World Cup. But as he returns to work, the improbable and courageous run of the U.S. comes to an end as well. Schaefer reflects on the game, Tim Howard's exceptional performance, and what it means for the USMNT's chances going forward.
The United States Men's National Team may have lost 1-0 to Germany, but the Americans are still heading to the knockout round of 16, with a little help from Portugal's win over Ghana in the Group of Death. Soundcheck host John Schaefer breaks down what it all means, and suggests a new, cooler, nickname for the USMNT.
Just when you might have been thinking, "Wow, you must need to be a real jerk to be a top soccer player," along comes Lionel Messi to show everyone how it should be done. All he does is score goals. Soundcheck's John Schaefer weighs in on the Argentina star and his two goals in yesterday's World Cup action.
Big day in the World Cup yesterday, as yet another highly regarded former champion was sent home (that would be Italy) and another surprise package (Greece) earned a ticket to the next dance. But no one wants to talk about any of that right now. Soundcheck's John Schaefer is all agog that Uruguay's star forward, Luis Suarez, has apparently bitten an opponent.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer has watched practically every minute of this year's World Cup. Now, with two games running simultaneously, he has to choose which one will get his attention.
For Soundcheck host John Schaefer and practically everyone else watching the World Cup this weekend, Sunday was all about U.S.A. and Portugal. Yes, we're all disappointed that Portugal leveled the score on the last play of the game. But Schaefer says, "remember, this is the Group of Death," and he's confident the Americans will still move on to the next round.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer may have the week off, but that hasn't stopped him from watching practically every minute of this year's World Cup from the cozy confines of his couch. Here's his latest missive about Costa Rica's win over Italy, France's win over the Swiss, and an M83 song that may convince you to travel.
Because of the Tony Award-winning musical Beautiful, Gerry Goffin's name recognition at the time of his death yesterday, at 75, was higher than it had been since the 1960s, when he and his first wife Carole King burst onto the American music scene with a string of enduring hits.. Host John Schaefer looks back at the many hits they penned together.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer takes the week off from his music duties to binge-watch the World Cup, and has these thoughts on England's loss, the referees who make their presences known, and Brian Eno.