The Onus

Darryl founded The Onus in 1996. For over 25 years, the ensemble has cultivated a rich repertoire of original pieces and a distinctive sound. The ensemble’s album, Triphony (Hipnotic 2005), topped the CMJ chart for weeks and garnered recognition in the Village Voice as one of the best albums of the year. Its 2012 release, The Edenfred Files (Hipnotic), was featured on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross and made Ted Gioia’s list of best albums of the year.

Darryl Harper, clarinet
Matthew Parrish, bass
Harry “Butch” Reed, drums

Album Release at The Drake

Darryl celebrates the release of his new album Chamber Made at The Drake Amherst. November 11, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

The Onus at Boston Museum of Fine Arts Sound Bites Series

The Onus performs on the Sound Bites Series at MFA Boston. January 8, 2020.

Tones for Sonya Clark at the African American Museum of Philadelphia

The Onus opens for Sonya Clark’s artist lecture at AAMP July 12, 2019.

Todd Marcus at the Benjamin Banneker Museum

The Onus joins Todd Marcus’s ensemble in Baltimore July 13, 2019.

The Onus with Todd Marcus at Amherst College

Darryl brings his ensemble to his alma mater. March 1, 2018.

The Onus with Todd Marcus in Baltimore

The Onus returns to Baltimore, where it got its start. February 24, 2018.

Black History Month Residency at Germantown Academy

A residency at Germantown Academy in Ft. Washington, PA in observance of Black History Month 2017. The ensemble gave a concert, a panel discussion, a workshop for the GA Jazz Ensemble, and Darryl gave the keynote address at the Black History Celebration Dinner.

Those Who Make Believe

Videos from concert at Virginia Commonwealth University on August 28, 2016 featuring Freddie Bryant (guitar) and Kevin Harris (piano)

Dillon Moran Musicians in Residence

The Onus with special guest Helen Sung (piano) were the 2014 Dillon Moran Musicians in Residence at Severn School in Severna Park, MD. Photos by Severn School.

Onus A Um

Videos from “Onus Ah Um” concert at Virginia Commonwealth University feat. Ralph Bowen (tenor), Adam Larrabee (guitar) and Kevin Harris (piano). March 2, 2011.


A video from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Dance Department Concert February 17-19, 2011. The Onus’s “Sarabande” from its Triphony album was chosen as the setting for this piece choreographed by James Frazier and danced by Nikolai McKenzie.

In Residence at Edenfred

Photos from the trio’s residency at Edenfred in Madison Wisconsin during the summer of 2009. Their work is documented on their 2012 album The Edenfred Files (Hipnotic).

Music for Water Spirits

Photos from exhibit “Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas” at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin in November 2008. The Onus performed as part of the exhibit activities.

Triphony Recording Session

Matthew, Butch and Darryl record their critically acclaimed Triphony album (Hipnotic 2004) at John Vanore’s studio in Chester, PA. Photos by John Vanore.

With the Baltimore Choral Arts Society

The Onus appeared as guests of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society for a live televised concert at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland.

Spring 2001

Photos from LeMoyne-Owen College (Memphis, TN); Princeton University (Princeton, NJ); and The Walden School (Dublin, NH). Pictured above: Harry “Butch” Reed (drums), Matthew Parrish (bass), Kyle Kohler (piano), Jeff Ray (guitar), Darryl Harper (clarinet, sitting) during residency at LeMoyne-Owen College.