Elizabeth Turnbull was born in New Zealand. She won an Arts Council Scholarship to pursue her musical studies in London. This she did, studying with Nicholas Roth and Peter Schidlof. Shortly after leaving College she made her Wigmore Hall debut and embarked upon a career of chamber music, teaching and orchestral playing. She has had a rich and varied experience in chamber music being a founder member of the Roth Quartet with whom she recorded, broadcast, and performed throughout Great Britain, and Europe. She is a founder member of the Archaeus Quartet. As a soloist Elizabeth has performed widely, often presenting new and unusual repertoire. She plays in String Talk, a duo for violin and viola with violinist Ann Hooley. Their recording of Sonata Op.132 for violin and viola by Leonard Salzedo, written especially for them, won the editor’s choice in Gramophone Magazine.
Elizabeth has always had a lively interest in teaching, which she began as a schoolgirl. She was appointed to the professorial staff at Trinity College of Music, where in 1992 she became Head of Strings and Chamber Music. She taught viola at Wells Cathedral School and has given classes at numerous specialist schools, conservatoires and festivals throughout Europe. Following an invitation to tutor a course for adults at Jackdaws she has become fascinated with helping late starters and mature string players to reach and fulfill their musical aspirations. She has written the tutor “Modus Operandi” specifically designed for adults to improve their instrumental skills – to unlock and rejuvenate their musical talents.