Meet the Family

Play, Inspire, Achieve.

Rob Spalton

Principal Conductor

Rob is a Birmingham Conservatoire graduate with a BMus (Hons) Music Performance and is a well-rounded musician with extensive experience in the field. His energetic, motivating and committed attitude has seen him gain experience across a wide range of styles. His career includes:

- Musical Director for Central England Concert Band.

- Chief Technician for The Orchestral Pit Stop.

  • Head of Brass and Orchestral Percussion at Repton School.

Rob is also a freelance musician who plays his favourite instrument the trumpet. As a tutor and having built great rapports with students, he has excellent exam pass rates with current students in the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and with scholarships to respected independent schools.

Rob’s career highlights include playing at festivals such as Glastonbury, Shambala and Cropredy. He enjoys bands from the traditional Red Hot Chilli Peppers to the most recent The Decemberists. His all-time karaoke song is Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel, he sits down and goes through his music score before standing in front of others to teach them, and also enjoys watching his guilty pleasure TV series The Gilmore Girls.

Sarah Marshall

Founder & Managing Director

Sarah Marshall has been the Artistic and Managing Director of The People’s Orchestra since she created the orchestra back in 2012. Founded with a principle wish to keep people playing music, the orchestra has grown into one of the UK’s leading community orchestras in just four short years.

Coming from a non-music background, Sarah set out to prove that orchestras could be set up, ran differently and still wow audiences with a high standard of performance. Despite pressure in the early years to lower the entry level for musicians, the orchestra stuck to its word and kept a Grade 7 entry (good sight reading being the key to playing with this group), opening up sections to an infinite number of players, encouraging all types of instruments to join and reducing financial barriers to play. The orchestra is now 70 strong and growing.

But it doesn’t end there. As volunteers joined in to help with the back-office roles such as marketing, administration and graphical design (to name just a few). They began leave a few weeks later after gaining paid employment. Sarah found funding to extend support and training offered by the charity for unemployed volunteers. The orchestra charity has since gone on to help hundreds of people back into paid employment, into education or on to set up their own businesses, all in one of the most deprived areas of England.



John Altman

John Altman is a highly accomplished composer and jazz musician. In the jazz world he has performed with many great names.

The John Altman Big Band frequently performs in the US and UK. He is also a Patron of the National Jazz Archive. He recently recorded the big band for an album released in the New Year of 2018.

Peter Cater


What he said about us
“The People's Orchestra epitomises genuine equality of opportunity, whereby musicians from every socio-economic and ethnic background; from teens to seniors, come together to share the joy of music making with one another, and with their ever-increasing audiences in live performance.
Already the orchestra has created wide ranging opportunities for its members and the logical next step is that it should foster new composers, who in developing their skills and experience will create new repertoire which is unique to the most unique aggregation. In my four decades as a professional musician I have rarely worked in such a rewarding environment. Every town and city should have a People's Orchestra.”

John Koutselinis


John Koutselinis is an award winning freelance music composer who has been composing film scores for short and feature length films for many years. His most notable collaborators include Gary Kurtz, Richard Bazley, Steve Stone, Danny Wilson and Mel Smith.

In 2015 John won the Best Music award at the London Ealing Film Awards for his work on the short film Centurion Resurrection (Richard Bazley), as well as the Outstanding Composer award for his work on the web series We Are Angels (Aaron Garcia) at LA Web Fest.

He has recently completed the score for the feature films In Extremis (Steve Stone), Decline of an Empire (Michael Redwood) and the animated feature Nephilim (Danny Wilson). He is also set to compose the score for the film Struggle To The Light (David Barckhoff & David Blair), a biopic on the life of Sir Winston Churchill, as well as the score for the film Dark Alliance (Graham Rushton) in 2017.
“I am an avid supporter of 'The People's Orchestra' and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to record some of my pieces. 'The People's Orchestra' gives invaluable unity in bringing people together through music, first and foremost by having fun and in the process by creating wonderful events, such as concerts and also by creating recorded music such as this EP.
The pieces we recorded include 'Beyond the Skies', which I wrote specifically for 'The People's Orchestra' and the end credits from a wonderful film by K&K productions titled 'Cable: The Chronicles of Hope' which was a homage to the X-Men universe.
I am very grateful for these recordings and I hope you will enjoy them as much I enjoyed the recording process with 'The People's Orchestra.”

Minerva Pawsey

Orchestra Administrator
Most people know me as Minnie.  She's a 23 year old Genomic Medicine Master's student and office administrator at The People's Orchestra.  Cheerful with creative flair,  her role is pivotal in the smooth running of the orchestra.

"I began volunteering for TPO at the start of 2017, and progressed to full time member of staff. My main role is administration, but I also manage volunteers, create marketing emails and help out with anything else that needs doing!  Working here has hugely increased my confidence - every day is varied and exciting, and I've learnt so many new skills. Seeing everyone in the audience enjoying themselves and clapping along at concerts is definitely one of the best parts of my job at TPO".

Julia Hartland

Music Librarian

Julia Hartland is a key part of the orchestra and makes sure everything is well organised in her role as Music Librarian. This involves the preparation and distribution of all music (there is reams and reams of it!) for the orchestra’s concerts and events.  She also ensures everyone is up to date by managing orchestra communications.  Community inclusion is an important part of the orchestra's values and Julia is a great role model for this by running a weekly 'Knit and Natter' group where all are welcome.

"Before coming to work for The People's Orchestra I had difficultly finding suitable employment. I suffer from the eye condition Keratoconus. and have vision problems that are difficult to correct. Working with the orchestra has helped me sustain regular employment, to begin with as a volunteer and now as a member of staff, doing something that I really enjoy".