Chicago composer Howard Sandroff has always functioned on his own terms quite independently of the highly politicized Chicago new music scene that has by and large ignored him, so what a delightful surprise to see an entire University of Chicago concert—where Sandroff runs the computer-music studio and where he has taught as an adjunct since 1983—being devoted to his innovative music. Sandroff has rarely gone in for either traditional musical forms nor traditional musical materials, preferring instead to make use of what he calls “sound objects.” His ability to generate new timbres and textures and transform sound electronically caught the attention of Pierre Boulez in the mid-1990s, who sanctioned Sandroff and Chicago Symphony clarinetist John Bruce Yeh to offer the first non-IRCAM (the Paris-based Institute for the Coordination Between Acoustics and Music) performance of Boulez’s “Dialogue de l’ombre double,” an event which led to Boulez inviting the duo to Paris to perform that piece alongside a piece for clarinet and electronics by Sandroff. This Sandroff retrospective has been organized by Chicago pianist Abraham Stockman, who has recorded works of Sandroff, including his “Adagio,” which will be featured on this concert, along with “Shevet achim gam yachad,” “The Bride’s Complaint” for soprano and computer-transformed piano, “Chant de Femme” for flutes and electronic sounds, and “La Joie” for clarinet trio. (Dennis Polkow)
Sunday, March 9 at University of Chicago’s Fulton Hall, 5845 Ellis, (773)702-8484, 7:30pm. Free.