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New Grass

William Parker Quartet

A Summer Solstice Celebration

Sunday, June 20 3:00–7:00PM

Join Ars Nova Workshop and The Woodlands for a celebration of the summer solstice and the kickoff of New Grass, a collaborative series of programs celebrating rebirth, healing, community, and music.

This daylong event will take place throughout the historic grounds of The Woodlands in West Philadelphia, featuring performances led by Philadelphia percussionist Karen Smith, vendors, yoga and mindfulness activities with Spirits Up!, and a special performance from iconic bassist and composer William Parker with an all-star quartet.

Stay tuned for complete program schedule.

William Parker Quartet

With a career now spanning five decades, William Parker has cemented his place as one of the most pioneering, influential and inventive voices in creative music. Renowned as a formative figure in improvised music — he’s been hailed by the Village Voice as “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time” — Parker is also a prolific and boundless composer. Within the past year alone, he released a 10-album collection of new compositions for a wide-ranging variety of ensembles, followed that with a pair of stunning trio albums, and was the subject of Cisco Bradley’s new book-length biography, Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker (Duke University Press).

Reviewing that immense new box set, Migrations Into and Out of the Tone World (AUM Fidelity), the Vancouver Sun recently declared that Parker “has carved out a legacy as one of the most adventurous, grooving and humanist musicians performing today.”

A longtime friend of Ars Nova Workshop, Parker recently performed a very special invocation for the organization’s second annual fundraiser in honor of Maestro Marshall Allen. For this performance, he’ll be joined by three fellow innovators, all of whom share long and rich musical relationships. Steve Swell is a versatile trombonist who has recorded and toured with not only avant-gardists like Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, but in the more traditional context of bands led by Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich. Upon moving to NYC in 1984, alto saxophonist Rob Brown quickly integrated into the city’s creative music scene and established lifelong collaborations with the likes of Parker, Matthew Shipp and Whit Dickey. Now based in Philadelphia, drummer Chad Taylor was formerly a linchpin of the Chicago scene who co-founded the Chicago Underground Duo and its myriad iterations with trumpeter Rob Mazurek.

Cover: William Parker / Photo by Anna Yatskevich (AUM Fidelity)
Sunday, June 20 3:00–7:00PM


  • Festival
  • Mindfulness
  • Performance

Program Info

Free with RSVP
All Ages

Pre-registration with advance RSVP required.


William Parker Quartet

  • Steve Swell – trombone
  • Rob Brown – alto saxophone
  • William Parker – bass
  • Chad Taylor – drums

Weez the Peeples

  • Karen Smith – percussion
  • Vanessa Taylor – saxophone
  • Nick DiFalco – guitar
  • Dan McCain – bass

Spirits Up!


The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA

  • The Woodlands, Philadelphia

Presented by

Presented by Ars Nova Workshop and The Woodlands as part of the New Grass series of programs.

Health & Safety

Ars Nova Workshop cares about the health and safety of our artists, audience, and staff. Please consult our health and safety protocols before attending this program.

The Woodlands

The Woodlands’ 54-acre undulating landscape is at once an 18th-century English pleasure garden, an active 19th-century rural cemetery, and a modern-day green oasis for the communities of West Philadelphia. Please note before planning your visit:

  • Guests can arrive by foot, bike, or public transit. There is no on-site parking available.
  • Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket for outdoor seating.


Should you require accessible entry or seating for this program, please contact The Woodlands at or 215-386-2181 at your earliest convenience.


Special COVID-19 admission guidelines are being followed to ensure a safe environment for all guests at The Woodlands.

  • Masks are required for all indoor spaces.
  • Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing while in line for the Stable Restroom.
  • Please respect other visitors and the Site Rules found on The Woodlands website.
summer 2021

New Grass

  • Series

New Grass

In collaboration with The Woodlands historic site in West Philadelphia, Ars Nova Workshop presents an exploration of fostering spaces where the creativity, thoughtfulness, and joy of everyday life in West Philadelphia can be shared.