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  • Fundraiser
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  • Talks

Second Annual John Coltrane Symposium

September 22–25, 2021

“One positive thought produces millions of positive vibrations.”
—John Coltrane

The John Coltrane Symposium in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop is proud to announce its second annual celebration of the life and music of John William Coltrane. This year’s celebration will be held at The Woodlands in West Philadelphia, with additional events at The Discovery Center in Strawberry Mansion, from September 22 to 25, 2021.

This year’s symposium schedule includes an Autumn Equinox celebration and kickoff event, September 22, at the green West Philadelphia oasis of The Woodlands, featuring a very special performance by the Odean Pope / Immanuel Wilkins / Chad Taylor Trio.

The following night, September 23, we will celebrate Coltrane’s 95th birthday under the stars at the reservoir of The Discovery Center. Beginning with a musical march led by trombonist Brent White, from Coltrane’s house on 33rd Street to The Discovery Center, the evening will conclude with a performance of some of Trane’s seminal compositions, including Equinox, led by White and pianist Farid Barron.

On Friday, September 24, we will host a fundraising dinner with Honeysuckle Projects and curated by Esquire magazine’s “Chef of the Year,” Omar Tate.

Our final day will conclude on Saturday, September 25, with two panels of conversation about Coltrane and his impact on both the musical and Black communities of Philadelphia. The highlight of the two panels will be a roundtable discussion between three authors that have penned biographies on Coltrane. Most notable, authors Bill Cole and C.O. Simpkins’ biographies were the first two of three to be released in 1975 and 1976. Simpkins and Cole have not been in conversation together for over thirty years. The symposium will close out Saturday evening with a stirring musical performance from Philadelphia’s own Alfie Pollitt and his All-Star Quartet.

Complete program schedule and information coming soon.

Cover: Image courtesy of Dave Burrell.
September 22–25, 2021

Program Info

Admission fees vary by program.

Check individual programs and venues for entry requirements.


Philadelphia, PA

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.

Sponsored by

The Second Annual John Coltrane Symposium has been made possible by the generous support of M|M Partners LLC.

  • M | M Partners

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.
  • Limited on-site parking is available for some events.
  • Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket for outdoor seating.
  • The front entrance of The Woodlands is located approximately 1/4 mile from the performance areas, with a slight incline along the way. Please wear comfortable shoes when visiting.


Should you require accessible entry or seating for this program, please contact Ars Nova Workshop at or 215-805-3376 for more information.


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.

The Discovery Center

Opened in 2018 as an educational center for environmental conservation and leadership development located at the site of a 19th-century Fairmount Park reservoir, The Discovery Center protects a unique habitat rarely found in a major urban area and provides education and adventure programs that inspire self-discovery, foster personal achievement, and build community across Philadelphia.


The Discovery Center is following the latest guidance provided by the City of Philadelphia for controlling the spread of COVID-19. Effective August 12, 2021, masks are required for indoor events and large outdoor gatherings.