In 1981, a young radio host from Brooklyn came to WNYC. John Schaefer was hired to read newscasts and introduce classical music, but soon found himself hosting a new music show that quickly became the on-air hub of the fertile downtown music scene.
Thoughout December, WNYC will celebrate Schaefer’s inimitable contributions to the musical life of New York City. The festivities kicked off on Friday, December 2 at 8pm, when WNYC presented “JS 30: Three Decades of John Schaefer,” an evening of live music and heartfelt memories in its downtown, street-level studio, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.
Grammy Award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo emceed the event, leading the audience through each of Schaefer’s past three decades – the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s – with personal stories from musicians, artists and friends, and of course, live musical performances. Guests included:
- STEVE REICH, one of the few landscape-changing composers of the last half-century
- LAURIE ANDERSON, experimental performance artist and the first guest on New Sounds
- WE ARE AUGUSTINES, Brooklyn-based indie rock group among Schaefer’s new favorite acts, who will play a stripped-down set
- SIMONE DINNERSTEIN, critically-acclaimed classical pianist, and TIFT MERRITT, folk-pop singer-songwriter, who will perform one of their new collaborations
- ETHEL, innovative, postclassical New York string quartet, who will perform a New Music piece
- MARGARET JUNTWAIT, radio host for the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday matinee broadcasts and former WNYC music host
- SCOTT JOHNSON, New York-based composer, who will play the first movement of “John Somebody,” an early hit on New Sounds that is actually not about John Schaefer, contrary to popular belief
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