Melinda Maxwell read music at the University of York and studied in Germany with Ingo Goritzki and Helmut Winschermann. She has performed as oboe soloist at many national and international festivals and is frequently heard on BBC Radio 3. Many works have been written for Melinda including by Simon Bainbridge, Nicholas Maw, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Simon Holt, Jo Kondo, Howard Skempton, Anthony Gilbert, and Philip Cashian. Melinda is also an accomplished composer herself writing several works for oboe and also various ensemble pieces with strings. Her septet Fractures was commissioned and performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in 2015 conducted by Oliver Knussen.

She has made many recordings. Her solo CD Melinda Maxwell in Manchester: Music for Oboe from the RNCM released in 2007 for Dutton Recordings was CD of the Month for BBC Music Magazine. Another in 2009 features the first recording for Oboe Classics of Birtwistle’s 26 Orpheus Elegies and was awarded the top rating in the Guardian and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest CD Blue Bamboo: jazz and other improvisations was released with Oboe Classics in January 2017.           

In addition to her work as a chamber musician and recitalist, Melinda is Principal oboe of the Endymion Ensemble and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She has played as frequent guest Principal with many orchestras and ensembles; including the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, and over the years has played with major orchestras as sub-Principal. She has been in regular demand in the session TV/Film world and was featured in all the Inspector Morse series for TV. 

She has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College in London and has been giving masterclasses at the Dartington International Summer School since 1992. She also coaches at the Britten–Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies and is Oboe Tutor for the National Youth Orchestra. She was RNCM Head of Woodwind (2001-2003) and then RNCM Consultant in Woodwind Studies (2003-2018).           

In June 2013 she gained an MMus in Jazz Performance from the Birmingham Conservatoire. In September 2016 she began a PhD in Composition and Improvisation.