Melbourne’s Molly Collier-O’Boyle debuts Elva, a fusion of commissioned viola works, classics, and personal interludes, exploring diverse musical realms.
Elva is a captivating 60-minute concept performance, marking the debut solo project of Melbourne-based polymath Molly Collier-O’Boyle. Melding her roles as curator, artist, and musician, Molly crafts an immersive experience inspired by contemplation, amity, nature, and the ephemeral. The album showcases five newly commissioned works for viola by Australian composers, seamlessly blending the alto voice and drawing from folk, improvisation, experimental, and contemporary classical genres.
At its core is a piece premiered in 2020 by composer Jared Yapp, titled A Simple Song for Complex Times. The project’s namesake, “Elva,” pays homage to Molly’s great-grandmother, capturing a poignant moment in time.
Intertwining this narrative are curated selections from Bach, Debussy, Schulhoff, and Silvestrov, punctuated by Molly’s own five interludes. Elva promises a rich tapestry of sound and emotion, weaving together tradition and innovation in a mesmerizing exploration of musical landscapes.
Molly Collier-O’Boyle, also known as Molly Cob, is a human from Meanjin/Brisbane who is currently living and working in Naarm/Melbourne. She spends most of her time plucking, picking and sawing away on the viola, cursing all the while. When not screaming profanities at wooden boxes, she attempts to balance her life as a performer, collaborator, curator and educator.
Molly is a violin graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the University of Queensland. She ditched the fiddle soon after these degrees, and instead switched to the middle fiddle (viola) at the start of her time at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). During these years, she completed a Master of Music Research through ANAM and Griffith University in which she explored curatorial processes based on collaboration in the creation and development of new works for the viola.
Her early career highlights reel includes being an emerging artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, an academist with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Australian World Orchestra, a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, and Principal Viola of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO). Prior to the pandemic, she was in residence for a month with duo partner Liam Wooding at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada.
In 2021, she pivoted between the role of Acting Assistant Principal Viola with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) , middle fiddle player in the Rathdowne Quartet, and was a finalist in the Freedman Classical Fellowship. In 2022 , Molly took up a variety of roles, including as Acting Associate Principal Viola with the MSO, a viola tutor at the AYO’s National Music Camp, Guest Principal Viola with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Guest Associate Principal with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, as well as a performer and collaborator in a variety of projects with mates from around the country and the globe.
Currently, Molly is working on completing her first solo project, Elva – a cycle of new music for viola and voice, which combines her collaborative, curatorial, compositional, and performance explorations in a blend of genres.
Outside of her time thinking about wiggly air, she enjoys spending time swimming, reading, doing arts & crafts, writing music, laughing, being sarcastic, watching gigs, digging herself into existential spirals, and sharing a frothy or two with family and friends.