Harper’s groups are acclaimed for their “poise and maturity” and “the empathy Harper and cohorts have developed over years of working together.”
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Darryl Harper began studying clarinet at age six in his native Philadelphia and was introduced to jazz at 16 by trombonist Anthony Hurdle. Within a year he was working professionally and began sitting in at sessions and performing with Tony Williams, Tyrone Brown, Eddie Green, Bootsie Barnes and other veteran Philadelphia-based jazz artists. Over the years he has performed with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roscoe Mitchell, Dave Holland, Orrin Evans, Freddie Bryant, Tim Warfield and Uri Caine. He performed with violinist Regina Carter for two years and toured the U.S., Europe, South America and the Caribbean. He currently holds the clarinet chair in pianist/composer Jason Moran’s tribute project to World War I veteran James Reese Europe: Jason Moran’s Harlem Hellfighters – James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin.
Harper’s projects as a leader include The Onus, the piano-clarinet duo Into Something and the C3 Project, an octet that presents multi-media work that include dance, video and poetry. His groups are acclaimed for their “poise and maturity” and “the empathy Harper and cohorts have developed over… years of working together.” As a composer, Harper has published and recorded over two dozen works. He has written a film score for the award-winning documentary film Herskovits: At the Heart of Blackness. Harper has been recognized by critics for his “incisive arrangements” and “richly melodic and…refreshingly inventive” writing.
Harper has a doctorate in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory, an M.M. in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University, and a B.A. in Music from Amherst College. He currently serves as John William Ward Professor of Music and as chair of the Music Department at Amherst.