Malcolm Johnston began learning the violin and piano at an early age, but was soon drawn to the warm sound and unfamiliar repertoire of the viola. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1990, Malcolm won a scholarship to the USA where he became teaching assistant to Jerzy Kosmala at the Louisiana State University.
He was subsequently invited to become a member of the Amernet String Quartet, with whom he played for four years, during which time the quartet won numerous major awards, including Gold Medal at the 1992 Tokyo International Chamber Music Competition. The quartet made their home in Cincinnati after becoming Quartet in Residence at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. They also toured extensively in the US, Japan, Australia and Europe. As well as his chamber music performing, Malcolm has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and as recitalist both in the US and Britain. Since returning to the UK in 1996 he has become a member of the LSO, where he is currently Sub-Principal viola.