Holly Conner is a drummer, percussionist, and producer based in Sydney. The rhythmic backbone behind many Australian acts, she is known for her creativity and versatility as a performer, improviser, collaborator,  composer, and solo artist.

A musical chameleon, she is just as at home playing electronic pop with producers, or belting the drums in indie rock bands; as she is in the worlds of film music, free jazz, and experimental performance art.

Alongside her work as a free-lance artist and collaborator, she creates and performs her own percussion-meets-electronic music (sometimes ambient, sometimes industrial) as ilex

 "Dynamic, powerful...an impressive display of virtuosic drumming....Highly theatrical, the sound and vision were highly impressive" - Eric Myers, Sydney Opera House for the Freedman Fellowship Awards.  

Holly has toured with songwriters, producers, and composers throughout Europe and Australia; recorded for film and tv; performed as part of large-scale art installations and cross-disciplinary works at venues such as The Sydney Opera House and Carriageworks; and has played at many festivals across the globe. 


Selected Releases
As a session musician, Holly has recorded drums on tv shows and indie films such as the BBC/HBO series Top of The Lake: China Girl, and the award-winning surf film Beyond the Noise.  She is featured on indie rock releases such as folk songwriter Glenn Hopper's album Something About the Weather , and BoysnLove's Honeymoon Diver.

In the worlds of Jazz and Improvised music, she is a member of collaborative collective Microfiche, and has written for/played on their albums (Everything and Other Infinities & Microfiche) and EPs; as well as recording on Matt Ottignon's newest project Volant. 

In the realm of electronic/club music she co-produced and recorded on Minus Marcus' EP Sigtsignals, and of course her own ilex releases - Visions of Elsewhere EP, Kodamas (single) - New Weird Australia Ambient Compilation, What Is Soft Is Also Strong (single). 


Holly currently plays with CLEWS (indie rock); Glenn Hopper (indie folk), Matt Ottingnon's Volant (Contemporary Jazz - Matt Ott, Hannah James, Lauren Tsamouras) and co-runs Microfiche (avante garde contemporary improvisation/ambient/post-rock/experimental - Pip Murphy-Haste, Sam Gill, Nick Calligeros, Novak Manojlovic, Max Alduca). 


Holly has toured across Europe and Australia with indie songstresses CLEWS and Annie Hamilton; free-jazz/experimental collective Microfiche; as well as national tours with Holly Throsby (indie folk), Human Noise (rock); and Lupa J (electronic/pop).  

Festival/Event appearances include VIVID Sydney, Sydney Festival, The Sydney Biennale, STRATA Festival at Phoenix Central Park, Liveworks, Underbelly Arts, Kaldor Public Arts 50th Year Anniversary, Sydney World Pride, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the nowNOW, Rhepperbahn Hamburg, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival, Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival, SIMA's Winter and Summer Series, and Manly Jazz Festival.

She has also played at venues such as N1Reaktorhallen in Stockholm, Km28 in Berlin, MONA in Tasmania, The Powerhouse Museum Sydney, and The Art Gallery of NSW.  In 2022, she was the deputy drum chair for the award-winning musical SIX, performing at the Opera House Studio during their Sydney season.

Through her free-lance, ensemble, and solo work, she has played with artists such as Holly Throsby, Bonnie Stewart, Lupa J, Marcus Whale, Sia Ahmad (No Gold); Chris Abrahams (The Necks), Phil Slater, Matt Ottignon, Paul Cutlan, Joseph Franklin, Flora Cabo, Jacques Emery, Clayton Thomas, Trevor Brown, Jonathan Wilson, Niki Johnson, Alyx Dennison, Megan Alice Clune and Hilary Geddes; she has worked with visual and performance artists Lauren Brincat and Leo Tzao; and shared bills with Mike Nock, B05N (Simon Barker, Matt McMahon, Carl Dewhurst, Phil Slater), SPILL (Magda Mayas & Tony Buck) Asteroid Ekosystem (Alister Spence, Lloyd Swanton, Toby Hall, Ed Kuepper), Tangents, Megan Alice Clune, Bluetung, Behind You, 700 Feel, and even supported international DJ Tzusing (LIES).  


Selected Awards/Support
2019 - Jaan Rutherford Memorial Award Finalist (excellence in Australian female jazz instrumentalists)
2022 - Freedman Jazz Fellowship Finalist (Australia-wide Jazz Award recognising those at the forefront of contemporary jazz and improvised music in Australia). 
2023 - FBI Radio's Independent Artist of the Week (for ilex)
2023 - Mentee in the AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels Association) Women In Music Mentor Program
2023 - Inner West Council professional development grant recipient to complete Ableton Liveschool in 2023.
2023 - ongoing - Volunteer and Presenter at FBI Radio, Sydney


Holly comes originally from an eclectic background of rock drumming and classical percussion, before studying a BA of Jazz Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, summer courses at the School of Improvised Music Brooklyn, and two Australian Art Orchestra Creative Music Intensives.