Holly Conner is a Sydney-based drummer and percussionist working across the 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 DJs and composes/performs electronic music combined with live drums. 

Current groups Holly is a part of include funk/jazz fusion outfit Funk Engine; All-girl covers band Covergirls; electronic/house
 band Minus Marcus; experimental folky-pop group Nou; and Heather Prowse's jazz quartet The WirelessHolly has also previously been a part of minimalist improvisation collective Microfiche, and trio Cloud Loops

As a freelance musician, Holly has recorded the drum and percussion pasts on the soundtrack for the BBC/HBO Television Series Top of The Lake.  She has also toured throughout Australia with singer-songwriter Holly Throsby.

Holly 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.

Career Highlights (Freelance/Performances/Studies/Tours)
  • .ilex Solo Drum Performance at the 'Bodies to Bodies' Event at Oxford Arts Factory. Percussive and textural track and combined with live drums and percussion. Other performers included Din, Ayebatonye and Powder L. Curated by Anna May Kirk.
  • Recordings for the short film Beyond the Noise (post-production). Music composed by Joseph Franklin. 
  • Recordings for Andree Greenwell's Listen to Me Project, a musical response to the issue of gendered violence. 
  • Sold out Funk Engine performances at Venue 505 (Five Year Anniversary Gig and Tribut to Lettuce Show), and performance at the annual Scandinavian Film Festival.

  • .ilex DJ sets at Pressor and FC3 events, and Colourfields 'Body Objects' Launch, amongst others. Click here to listen to some mixes from these events.

  • Minus Marcus performance at Stucco Housing Co-op Festival. The Wireless performances at The Manor, Johnson St. Jazz, Halfback Books and Hibernian House.

  • Performance at All Ears: A Listening Party at Campbelltown Arts Center with Marcus Whale and Jacques Emery. Playing zither, accordion and piano.

  • 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 with performances in Brisbane, Newcastle, Katoomba, Canberra, Sydney, Milton, Melbourne and Adelaide.  Other band members were Abel Cross (bass) and Tim Kevin (guitar). Click here, here and here for some reviews.
  • Playing marching snare drum at Spotless Staduim, Sydney, as part of the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL Marching Band.  The band played the Giants theme song for the fan parade to the stadium, on the field while players ran out, and whenever the Giants scored goals.
  • Performance at Sydney Contemporary Opening Night at Carriageworks, with Marcus Whale.  Music Curated by Vice.
  • Performances at many 2017 festivals including: Underbelly Arts Festival at National Art School (Jason Phu's installation work and the NOW Now's Late Night Lab Event); Manly Jazz Festival (The Wireless); Speak Satellite Wollongong (Microfiche and Minus Marcus); and The Now now Festival (Jeff Henderson & The Not Quite Quiet Choir).
  • Funk Engine second album Taking a Ride released, with a sell-out album launch at Venue 505.  In 2017 Funk Engine have performed on Radio Skid Row, toured to Melbourne and performed at Regrowth Festival.  Funk Engine performance at the late-night spot after Terri Lyne Carrington's Sydney performance at the SIMA International Women's Festival, on November 10th 2017. 
  • Performance at Bohemian Grove, Hibernian House with School of Velocity (Holly Conner, Clayton Thomas & Felix Bornholdt).

  • NOW now Series performance with Claire Edwardes & Clayton Thomas.
  • Converge Festival performance at Lazy Bones Lounge, performing Minus Marcus original music with guest artist, singer, composer and producer Marcus Whale. Also at this event, Holly performed with James Greening in Heather Prowses' New Orleans Brass Band.
  • 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.