Melinda Maxwell read music at York University and studied in Germany with Ingo Goritzki and Helmut Winschermann; she has performed as soloist at many festivals including Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Cheltenham and abroad at the Holland and Aarhus Festivals. She has given many recitals and is frequently heard on BBC Radio 3.

Over the years several works have been written for her by composers including Simon Bainbridge, Nicholas Maw,  Harrison Birtwistle - whose Pulse Sampler she has recorded for NMC - Simon Holt (whose works for Melinda include Banshee, Sphinx for cor anglais and tuned gongs, and Disparate/ Disparate Dos) Other composers who have written for her include Howard Skempton, Robert Saxton, Jo Kondo, Philip Cashian, David Knotts and Wilfred Mellers.

In addition to her work as a chamber musician and recitalist, she is principal oboe of the Endymion Ensemble and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and also performs regularly as principal with the London Sinfonietta, and for film sessions with the London Metropolitan Orchestra. She is also a member of the improvisation group Notes Inegales.

She has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College in London and has been giving master-classes at the Dartington International Summer School since 1992. She also coaches at the Britten-Pears and NYO summer courses. She is Consultant in Woodwind Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Melinda is also an accomplished composer, among her pieces are Pibroch and Song for Sidney for solo oboe, a work for double-reed ensemble, Crane Dance, written for the RNCM Woodwind Day in 2008, and ensemble pieces with strings. Singla Rock for mixed quintet was premiered by Endymion at King's Place in 2009.

Melinda's CDs include Melinda Maxwell in Manchester: Music for Oboe from the RNCM,  Birtwistle's 26 Orpheus Elegies, and Pulse Sampler (among numerous others) for NMC.