Melinda read music at York University and with a DAAD scholarship studied the oboe in Germany with Ingo Goritzki and Helmut Winschermann. She has travelled widely as a chamber and orchestral musician and performed as a soloist at the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Holland and Aarhus Festivals
She is committed to the music of our time and has premiered many works written especially for her. She has commissioned a substantial number of new works for the oboe by composers including Simon Bainbridge, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Simon Holt and Nicholas Maw.
As a composer her pieces for oboe include Pibroch for solo oboe, Elegy for oboe and piano, Song for Sidney for solo oboe and drone oboes, and Crane Dance a work for double reed ensemble premiered at an RNCM Woodwind Day in 2008. She has also written various pieces for mixed ensembles and in November 2015 BCMG commissioned and performed her septet ‘Fractures' conducted by Oliver Knussen.
Melinda’s solo CD recordings have twice been voted CD of the month for the BBC Music Magazine; Melinda Maxwell in Manchester: Music for Oboe from the RNCM was released on Dutton Recordings in 2007and Orpheus Elegies which features the first recording for Oboe Classics of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's 26 Orpheus Elegies and his arrangement of Three Bach Arias released in June 2009. She is principal oboe of the Endymion Ensemble and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and also performs regularly as principal with the London Sinfonietta.
She has performed with many orchestras and ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Orchestra of St John, BBCSO and for film sessions with the London Metropolitan Orchestra and various other groups. In 2007 Melinda went to Uganda as part of a four person London Sinfonietta team to discover the sounds of ancient rock gongs on the island of Lolui in Lake Victoria. The composer Nigel Osborne who also took part wrote a new solo work for her and her two colleagues and five Ugandan musicians, which was premiered at the opening of the new King's Place Concert Hall in London October 2008.
She has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College London and has been giving masterclasses at the Dartington International Summer School since 1992. She coaches at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies and is an oboe tutor for the National Youth Orchestra. She is Consultant in Woodwind Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.
As part of an RNCM research project encompassing composition and improvisation she took a masters degree course at the Birmingham Conservatoire and in June 2013 gained an MMus in Jazz Performance