C. Neil Parsons

Instructor of Theater

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C. Neil Parsons joined the Conservatory in 2017 as an instructor of theater in the contemporary theater program and also teaches in the music and dance divisions.

A bass trombonist, choreographer, and director, Parsons has been performing for as long as he can remember, appearing in his first professional theater production at age three. Extensive touring has taken him to 40 states, with performances at major performing arts centers such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, residencies at numerous universities, and guest appearances with symphony orchestras, including Boston Symphony Orchestra. Beyond his versatility across music, theater, and dance productions, Parsons is best known for blending his talents in new hybrid artworks.

In 2010, Parsons cofounded the hybrid arts ensemble the Fourth Wall to develop new interdisciplinary works and reimagine established repertoire to make "music that leaps off the stage." Praised by the Wall Street Journal for their "deft choreography," the trio has become a perennial favorite on the fringe theater festival circuit with their neo-vaudeville production Fruit Flies Like a Banana. The Fourth Wall is a teaching artist ensemble for Young Audiences of Massachusetts. Other collaborators include flutist/dancer Zara Lawler's The Flute on Its Feet, SputterBox, Shakespeare’s Ear, Too Many Trombones, Windfall Dancers, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Early Music in Motion, the Boston Composers' Coalition, and the syndicated public radio program A Moment of Science. For nine seasons Parsons performed with Tales & Scales, an ensemble which devised and toured innovative "musictales" for children and family audiences, serving as co-artistic director from 2006 to 2008.

In 2019, Parsons premiered his solo show A Thousand Words at the IndyFringe Festival. Combining his father’s stories and photographs from the Vietnam War with original music and dance, Parsons recounts “tales of danger, resilience, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.”

Parsons is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he declared an individual major in Interdisciplinary Performance and Education. In 2015, he joined the inaugural class of Boston Conservatory's graduate program in contemporary classical music performance, from which he received a master's degree in 2017.

He resides in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is a licensed massage therapist, specializing in the needs of performers and athletes.

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • “Best of the Fest,” Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival (the Fourth Wall, 2020)
  • Gala Performance, National Flute Association Convention (the Fourth Wall, The Flute on Its Feet, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Featured Ensemble, College Music Society Summit (the Fourth Wall, 2016)
  • Gala Performance, New Music Gathering (the Fourth Wall, 2016)
  • The Savvy Musician in Action Chamber Ensemble Competition (the Fourth Wall, 2014)

Notable Recent Engagements

  • Manifest Boston: Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Virtual Style (Online, 2020)
  • Solo Show Premiere: A Thousand Words (IndyFringe Festival, 2019)—Creator, performer, writer, composer, choreographer
  • Off-Broadway Debut: Fruit Flies Like a Banana: World Tour (SoHo Playhouse, 2017)—Choreographer, composer, performer


  • School Name
    The Boston Conservatory
    State or Province
    Master of Music (M.M.)
    Field of Study
    Contemporary Classical Music Performance
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    Oberlin College
    State or Province
    Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
    Field of Study
    Trombone Performance
    Date Degree Received