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:
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.
Friday, November 07, 2014
The not-much-altered-ego of Brooklyn punk band Parquet Courts, Parkay Quarts unleashes a dark tale with the song "Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth." Hear the song and entire album.
Monday, October 27, 2014
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Dylan Thomas' birthday, Soundcheck host John Schaefer reflects on five songs inspired by the Welsh poet.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Composer Ljova conducted 11 subway musicians spread across New York via WiFi.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
With New York Comic Con kicking off today, the city is full of even more aliens and space cadets than usual. Soundcheck's John Schaefer welcomes them with his favorite sci-fi songs.
Monday, September 29, 2014
The Danish singer-songwriter's deluxe edition of her 2014 album, Aventine, features unreleased songs, remixes and live performances. Hear a brand new song, "Arches."
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Beneath big hits like “Changes” and “Let’s Dance” lies the real genius of David Bowie. Soundcheck host John Schaefer offers up his favorite essential lesser-known masterpiece songs.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Today, David Bowie Is opened at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. Soundcheck's John Schaefer reviews a documentary film, also called David Bowie Is, which debuted tonight.