The Fourth Wall
Few musical ensembles earn top marks for their "deft choreography," but this is no ordinary ensemble. Part chamber music group, part devised theatre company, part modern dance troupe, part circus act, The Fourth Wall blends music, theatre, dance, and acrobatics into a new hybrid art form. In their award-winning variety show, Fruit Flies Like a Banana, this trio of conservatory-trained musicians creates new interdisciplinary works and reinterprets classic repertoire - all performed in an order chosen by the audience - to make music that leaps off the stage.
Innovative and flexible, The Fourth Wall quickly adapted to COVID life, creating Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Virtual Style for schools and festivals. In May 2020, The Orlando Sentinel named the show "Best of the Fest" at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Until their international touring schedule can resume, The Fourth Wall's interactive online performances will continue to put everyone in a front-row seat, and all are invited to help create a show that leaps off the screen.
HILARY ABIGANA is a hybrid arts flutist dedicated to finding new, innovative ways of moving and interacting with the instrument. Before moving to Massachusetts with The Fourth Wall, she held positions as the second flutist for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and piccolo player of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. She was the first prize winner of the 2008 Houston Flute Club’s Byron Hester Young Artist Competition, was a silver medalist at the 2014 Midwest Fleadh Cheoil Céilí Band Competition (with the Indianapolis Céilí Band), and a silver medalist at the 2008 Fischoff Competition (with Trio Destino). Passionate about teaching, Hilary was on faculty at Floot Fire in Texas
and the International Flute Symposium, co-founded the Irish Arts Academy of Indianapolis, and continues to inspire young flutists in masterclasses at universities across the country.
Hilary received her Bachelor of Music degree with Distinction from The Eastman School of Music, where she also was awarded the Performer’s Certificate in Flute. She received her Masters Degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where she studied with Leone Buyse. Together with previous teachers Bonita Boyd and Timothy Day, these three musicians have been the greatest influence on her playing. Hilary is a proud Verne Q Powell Flutes Artist
C. NEIL PARSONS has been performing for as long as he can remember, appearing in his first professional theatre production at age three. Extensive touring has taken him to 40 states, with performances at major performing arts centers such as the Kennedy Center, residencies at numerous universities, and solo engagements with symphony orchestras, including the Boston Symphony. His creative output runs the gamut of music, theatre, and dance productions: from solo to chamber to orchestral music; from Shakespeare to musical theatre to outdoor drama; and from modern to tap to site specific dance pieces.
Neil is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied bass trombone with Ray Premru. While at Oberlin, he combined his interests in music, dance, and teaching into an individual major: Interdisciplinary Performance and Education. Neil received a Master’s degree in Contemporary Classical Music Performance from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he currently serves on the faculty for the Contemporary Theater program.
GREG JUKES creates musical experiences that expand the boundaries of traditional performance. In addition to his work with The Fourth Wall, Greg collaborates with various organizations in Boston and the Mid-Atlantic. With Kadence Arts, Greg developed the Beat Bus, an electronic bucket drumming workshop that gets kids around New England excited about music through a mix of technology, movement, and grooves. In the Marimba Cabaret, Greg accompanies and directs singing marimbist, Brian Calhoon in evenings of songs and stories.
As a narrator, Greg has introduced thousands of children and families to the wonders of orchestral music with established pieces like “Peter and the Wolf” and shows he has written around works such as Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” Holst’s “The Planets,” and Copland’s music inspired by the American west.
Greg graduated from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Robert van Sice, Svet Stoyanov, Tom Freer, and So Percussion. He has collaborated with conductors David Amado, Ken Lam, Jason Love, and Piotr Gajewski; directors Gary Race and Diane Brewer; and choreographers Mariel Greenlee, Neil Parsons, and the Windfall Dancers.
Testimonials and Press
THAT ASSEMBLY WAS AWESOME! I was worried about how engaging a virtual assembly could be with 200 kids logged in, but you all did such a great job. And bringing in that beautiful Great Dane while playing that flute piece was my favorite part! Thank you so much for that musically inspiring assembly. I was a trombone player myself throughout school, so I brought out my old trombone and let my 7 year old try it out! Then my 9 year old grabbed his guitar, and, well, "music" was made! I hope lots of kids ask their parents about what they learned in the assembly. And using the "Poll" feature in Zoom was brilliant. My kids jumped right on that! They were very excited to answer the questions. Well done!
It was great. Our kids really loved learning about amplitude, harmony, and they got to learn some of the classics, too. They were phenomenal. I would recommend them to any school.
"It would be magnificent just to see your performance a second time. I had a great time learning about sound vibrations, melody, and timbre." - Adria
"You all created amazing sounds. You guys are amazing!" - Miaya
"Thank you for coming and showing us your awesome talent. I loved your music and your instruments. I loved your show and you inspire me to do music." - Noah
"My favorite thing I learned is the sound detector. I love how it detects the vibrations." - Ashlyn
"I loved the presentation! My favorite part was when you did harmony." - Emily
"It was really amazing and I could tell you practiced a lot. I liked the parts where all of you played instruments at the same time." - Simon
"I really loved your performance. I think the hoverboards were a fabulous touch and it wouldn't be the same without them. My favorite instrument was the flute because it was very classy and jazzy." - Lauren
"Thank you for coming to our school. It was a lot of fun. In 5th grade we have band so you guys have inspired me to do band." - Lawrence
"I enjoyed your show a lot and I am happy to say it was truly magical! I love the hoverboards! You guys must continue your amazing work!" - Madelyn
[They] do not break their titular barrier so much as pulverize it. They lovingly but concisely describe their pieces, they call up volunteers to the stage, they crack jokes to the audience... The choreography they incorporated (tangos, spins, jumping) sometimes seemed impossibly demanding, but musical coherence never diminished.
Serious music by seriously talented musicians in a show that doesn't take itself seriously at all.
They have the unique ability to not just play the music, but to seemingly become the music.
The Fourth Wall Ensemble was just amazing today. I received so many compliments from the teachers and staff about how awesome they were. My daughter had the same compliments - the show was fun and loud and she was amazed at what Neil, Greg and Hilary could do with their instruments AND dance or hoverboard 🙂 They did a great job of weaving in information about sound and how it is made with really great music and funny routines. Their time with us just flew by.
I would have them back again for sure. Thanks for bringing such great performers to us!
They were AWESOME. Honestly, from start to finish, I was engaged and the kids were engaged. I saw SO many smiling faces and they were dancing with them and laughing. I told them all at the end that this was, by far, the BEST program we have had since this whole virtual learning started.