1st Prizewinner and Audience Prizewinner at the 9th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in 2017, and hailed as “brilliantly fresh, unexpected and exhilarating” by The Scottish Herald, and "superb storytelling by four great communicators" by The Strad Magazine, the Maxwell Quartet is now firmly regarded as one of Britain's finest young string quartets, with a strong connection to their folk music heritage and a commitment to bringing together wide-ranging projects and programmes to expand the string quartet repertoire.
The quartet performs regularly across the UK and abroad, at venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, and St Martin-in-the-Fields, with performances through the Park Lane Young Artist Programme, the Tunnell Trust Awards Scheme, and the Kirckman Concert Society programme.
After their success at Trondheim in 2017, the quartet has toured widely across Europe, including performances in the Tivoli Concert Hall Series, the Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale, Stavanger Festival, Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Schiermonnikoog and Wonderfeel Festivals in the Netherlands, Lammermuir Festival and Music at Paxton in Scotland, and more. Its debut tour of the USA in January 2019 garnered critical acclaim from the New York Times (“eloquent performers who bring the same sense of charisma and sense of adventure to their programming”), and performing to sold out venues in New York, Florida, California and Washington. Collaborations have included working with the Danish String Quartet to perform Scottish and Danish folk music, and working on a new commission for clarinet quintet with composer/clarinettist Mark Simpson. The Quartet's debut CD on Linn Records, featuring string quartets by Haydn alongside the quartet’s own compositions based on Scottish traditional folk music, received glowing reviews from international press.
The Quartet is formed of four close friends, who grew up playing folk and classical music together in youth orchestras and music schools across Scotland. The group officially began in 2010 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where its founding members met as postgraduate students. In 2011, the Maxwell Quartet was named as Residency Artists for Enterprise Music Scotland 2011-2013, which saw several acclaimed concert tours over their two-year tenure. Performing widely across Scotland, the quartet established a reputation for delighting audiences with their "unnaffected enthusiasm" (North Highland Times) and their "panache and conviction" (Strathearn Herald). The quartet has since held residencies at Oxford University, Perth Concert Hall and many chamber music festivals across the UK, including their own festival Loch Shiel in the west highlands of Scotland, and a new self-curated concert series at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire. The quartet currently holds the position of Associate Artist at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, and at Music at Paxton Festival in the Scottish Borders.
Passionate about collaborating with musicians and other artforms, the quartet has worked with a global roster of artists and institutions including Cryptic Theatre, Wintour’s Leap, Royal Ballet School, Lunir, cinematographer Herman Kolgen and many more. The quartet has also worked with some of the UK's most dynamic composers including commissions by Anna Meredith, Tom Harrold, Mark Simpson and Colin Broom. In addition to a busy concert diary, the quartet regularly feature in broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland, as well as regularly giving schools workshops and concerts for children.
The Maxwell Quartet has studied with the Endellion Quartet through a Chamber Studio mentorship programme at King's Place, and privately with Hatto Beyerle, founding member of the Alban Berg Quartet, in Hanover, Germany. Other mentors have included Miguel da Silva (Quatuor Ysaye), Erich Hobarth (Quatuor Mosaiques), Krysztof Chorzelski (Belcea Quartet), Donald Grant (Elias) and Alasdair Tait.
The quartet plays on two fine Italian violins, by Castello and Calcanius, generously loaned to them from the Harrison Frank Foundation; a J.B Vuillaume viola, and a Francesco Ruggieri cello, both on loan from generous benefactors.
COLIN SCOBIE | VIOLIN
Born in Edinburgh in 1991, Colin Scobie is already established as one of the most creative and compelling violinists and chamber musicians of his generation. He has performed as concerto soloist to critical acclaim across Europe and further afield, with orchestras including Musica Alta Ripa, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, La Serenissima, Scottish Ensemble and the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra. He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Radio Scotland numerous times and collaborated with many eminent musicians including Marcia Crayford, Stephen Orton, Martino Tirimo, Moray Welsh, Colin Carr, and Alexander Hohenthal.
In 2010 Colin was appointed 2nd violin of the Fitzwilliam Quartet with whom he performed extensively for 2 years, touring Europe, Africa and America. His desire to explore the possibilities of the quartet repertoire and to lead a young and dynamic quartet led to him joining the Maxwell Quartet as first violin in 2013. Colin began playing the violin at the age of eight, studying at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, before going on to the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Dona Lee Croft and Lucy Russell.
ELLIOTT PERKS | VIOLA
Elliott studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he studied with Suzie Meszaros, Rosemary Warren-Green and Lioutsia Ibragimova. Elliott was a foundation scholar at the Royal College of Music in London where he studied with Andriy Viytovych.
Elliott has taken part in numerous concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, performing in most London venues, including The Wigmore Hall, The Royal festival Hall, The Royal Albert hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Purcell Room, Sadlers Wells, Bradford Cathedral, Snape Maltings, Dorking Halls, The Cadogan Hall and numerous concerts in the Menuhin Hall. Recent engagements include playing Viola Viola by George Benjamin in the Purcell room and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Violinist, Oliver Cave and the Audeat Camerata in Hampstead. He has performed as guest principal with orchestras including Manchester Camerata, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
GEORGE SMITH | VIOLIN
George began learning to play the violin at the age of ten. He studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with William Chandler and Ruth Crouch. Whilst there he played in masterclasses with Midori, Christian Tetzlaff,Ilya Gringolts, Andrew Manze and Barnabas Keleman. He has performed across the UK and further afield as a chamber musician, soloist and Scots fiddle player. Notable performances include winning prizes in the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship, performing James MacMillan's ‘From Ayrshire’ for Solo Violin and Orchestra under the baton of the composer, and most recently performing in the Cuillin Mountains on the Isle of Skye.
George works with many other groups in Scotland including the Scottish Ensemble, BBCSSO and Grit Orchestra.He regularly works with non-classical musicians, collaborating with composers including Anna Meredith and Samoyed. Along with this he teaches at various institutions across Scotland and is regularly invited to give workshops and masterclasses on Scottish music. George performs on a Bernardus Calcanius violin which dates from c.1740. and is extremely grateful to the Harrison-Frank Family Foundation for this generous loan.
DUNCAN STRACHAN | CELLO
Born in Dundee in 1987, Duncan grew up in Lochaber, in the west highlands of Scotland, where he began learning cello with Audrey Scott at the age of 4. Duncan then went to St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh, learning with Pat Hair. He subsequently read music at St Catherine's College, Oxford where he was a Leask Music Scholar and an Academic Scholar. He studied cello with Colin Carr, before continuing his studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Robert Irvine.
As a chamber musician Duncan has worked with a wide range of ensembles prominent figures including Fidelio Trio, Red Note, Florin Trio, Lana Trotovsek, Ilya Gringolts, David Watkin and Benjamin Grosvenor. He has also worked with composers including Tom David Wilson, Simon Smith, Anna Meredith, Stuart MacRae, Rory Boyle, Michael Finnissy and many more to perform new works for cello.