Holly Conner is a Sydney-based drummer and percussionist working across the electronic music, pop/rock, jazz/improvised and experimental music scenes.  From early beginnings in classical percussion, she now specialises in drum kit. Under the moniker .ilex, Holly also composes/performs her own electronic music combined with live drums, as well as DJing. 

As a freelance musician, she
recorded the drum and percussion parts on the soundtrack for the BBC/HBO Television Series Top of The Lakeaward-winning experimental surf film, Beyond the Noise, and many other film projects. She has toured throughout Australia with art-pop producer Lupa J; singer-songwriter Holly Throsby; producer Marcus Whale; and indie rock band Boydos.

Current groups Holly is a part of include indie pop bands BoysnLove and Skinny Legionsminimalist collective Microfiche; funk/jazz fusion outfit Funk Engine; experimental, dark-folk group Nou; and electronic/house band Minus Marcus. In June and July of 2019 Microfiche completed their first international tour - performing in Western Europe and Scandinavia. 

Holly Conner is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz Course (Bachelor of Music, Honours, 2013-2016), where she studied under Dr. Simon Barker and Phillip Slater, among others. She is also a former finalist of the Jaan Rutherford Memorial Award, recognizing excellence in Australian female jazz instrumentalists.  

Career Highlights (Freelance/Performances/Studies/Tours)

  • Solo .ilex hybrid performances at Petersham Bowling Club and Marley Bar.
  • Funk Engine third album released
  • Microfiche European tour (Km28 Berlin, R1 Nuclear Reactor Stockholm, Graddo Music Festival in Sweden, and Copenhagen Jazz Festival) and album recording (post-production).
  • Liveworks Festival 2019 performer, as part of Lauren Brincat's work 'The Other Tempo'. 
  • Performances & Touring with Lupa J: Club Kooky and Ziggy's Barbershop (Vivid Festival), Art After Hours (Art Gallery of NSW); TedXYouth Sydney; Swallow Me Whole Tour (Sydney and Melbourne); supporting Banoffee (Sydney and Melbourne); plus many more! 
  • .ilex solo hybrid, live performance at Touch of Loft: A Touch of Live, Tokyo Sing Song
  • Sydney Festival as part of the house band in Geoff Sobelle's theatre production 'Home'.
  • Kaldor Public Arts 50 Year Anniversary performance piece (Art Gallery of NSW), coordinated by Spanish artist Miralda and Kaldor staff.
  • Minus Marcus debut recording
  • Performances with BoysnLove, Boydos, Queen Porter Stomp.
  • .ilex Solo Hybrid Performances at Series Concert (Tzusing's Sydney Show) and 'Bodies to Bodies' at Oxford Arts Factory (with Din & Ayebatonye). 
  • Recordings for the award-winning experimental surf film, Beyond the Noise. Music composed by Joseph Franklin. 
  • Recordings for Andree Greenwell's Listen to Me Project, a musical response to the issue of gendered violence. 
  • .ilex DJ sets at Pressor, CorunnaFest 2018, Colourfields 'Body Objects' Launch, and Georgia's Webb Album Launch, amongst others. Click here to listen to some mixes.
  • Sold out Funk Engine performances at Venue 505 (Five Year Anniversary Gig and Tribute to Lettuce), performances at the annual Scandinavian Film Festival, and Marrickville Festival amongst others.
  • Performance at All Ears: A Listening Party at Campbelltown Arts Center with Marcus Whale and Jacques Emery. Playing zither, accordion and piano. Performance for Jason Phu's work at 4a Gallery.
  • Volunteer work at Fbi Radio Sydney in the first half of 2018.
  • Recording drums and percussion for the soundtrack of BBC/HBO Television Series Top of The Lake (Series 2, China Girl). Music composed by Mark Bradshaw & Marcus Whale.
  • Holly Throsby 'After a Time' Tour (Brisbane, Newcastle, Katoomba, Canberra, Sydney, Milton, Melbourne and Adelaide).  Click here, here and here for some reviews.
  • Performance at Sydney Contemporary Opening Night at Carriageworks, with Marcus Whale.  
  • Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL Marching Band - playing marching snare drum at Spotless Staduim, Sydney.
  • Performances at many 2017 festivals including: Underbelly Arts Festival at National Art School (Jason Phu's install + the NOW Now's Late Night Lab); Manly Jazz FestivalSpeak Satellite Wollongong (Microfiche and Minus Marcus); and The Now now Festival.
  • Funk Engine second album Taking a Ride released, with a sell-out album launch at Venue 505 and a tour to Melbourne. 
  • NOW now Series performance with Claire Edwardes & Clayton Thomas.
  • Converge Festival performance at Lazy Bones Lounge, performing Minus Marcus original music with guest artist, Marcus Whale. 
  • Performance at the Nolan & Void Galleries at MONA (Hobart,Tasmania) as part of The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) Creative Music Intensive (CMI) program 2016.  Program participants collaboratively made music with, Bae Il Dong (Pansori singer, Korea), Daniel Wilfred (vocals/clapsticks - Ahnem Land) & David Wilfred (digeridu - Anhem Land), Christopher Hale (bass - Melbourne) and Simon Barker.  
  • Performance as a featured artist in Anthony Pateras' Thymolphthalein ensemble for Soundgardens Festival, VIVID Festival Sydney.

  • Cloud Loops debut performance at Soundgardens Festival, part of VIVD Festival Sydney.
  • Performance at State Parliament for the NSW Women of the Year Awards.  
  • Interview with Leah Blankendaal for Cut Common Magazine.  Read the full interview here.
  • Performance at The Outdoor Stage & The Void at MONA, for the AAO CMI 2016.  The AAO CMI in 2015 featured guest artists Guru Karikudi Mani (Mridangam - India), and B.V Balasai (flute - India).
  • Performance at Shape Shifer Lab Brooklyn (USA), for the School of Improvised Music (SIM) Intensive program. The SIM Intensive 2015 program brought together improvisers from around the world to play and compose together. At SIM Holly received private tuition from Tom Rainey (drums), Gerald Cleaver (drums) and Mark Helias (double bass).
  • Performance with Lloyd Swanton (The Necks, The Catholics) at 505 for Sydney Uni's Converge Festival
  • Performances with the Alex Silver Quintet at Edinburgh Jazz Festival, the Blue Lamp Aberdeen, and Aberdeen International Youth Festival. The tour was sponsored by SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) and featured previous members of SIMA's Young Women's Jazz Program.  
  • Completed Conservatorium Open Academy courses in performance and composition whilst on a gap year. 
  • Europe Tour with the state-auditioned NSW Performing Arts Unit Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.  Both ensembles performed in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and also completed workshops with the Vienna Philharmonic.
  • Berlin Philharmonic Student Mentorship program. In 2011, Holly was in a group of musicians mentored by players from the Berlin Philharmonic while they were on tour in Australia.  Program participants workshopped their own compositions with orchestra members, then performed these compositions at the Sydney Opera House. 
  • Completed the HSC, including Music 2 and Music Extension, at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts.  For Music 2 and Extension, Holly performed both classical percussion repertoire (including timpani, and a 4-mallet marimba solo), and jazz drum kit.