Dutch violinist Marije Johnston (née Ploemacher) started violin lessons with Marie-Jose Beks when she was seven years old. Three years later she joined the ‘Young Talent Class’ at the conservatoire of Utrecht to study with Joyce Tan. In 1998 she continued her studies with Jan Repko and Ilya Grubert at the Sweelinck Conservatoire in Amsterdam. For several years Marije led the Netherlands Youth String Orchestra with which she also performed as a soloist and from 2002-2005 she was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra.
In 2002 Marije came to England to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Jan Repko. During her time at the Royal Northern College of Music Marije won numerous prizes, including all the RNCM’s chamber music prizes as a member of the Navarra Quartet. As a soloist Marije performed Shostakovich’s violin concerto No. 1 with the RNCM’s Symphony Orchestra after winning the prestigious concerto auditions held at the RNCM in 2003 and in the following years performed concertos by Tippett, Schnittke and the Brahms ‘Double’ Concerto (with cellist Nathaniel Boyd) with the same orchestra. Awarded the RNCM’s highest accolade, the Gold Medal, Marije went on to gain her B(mus) from the RNCM with First Class Honours and her Professional Performance Diploma (2005) and Postgraduate Diploma (2007) both with distinction. Marije plays an english Jacob Fendt violin made around 1830.