The People's Orchestra

Our Orchestra Creative Team

Sarah Marshall

Founder, CEO, Artistic Director

Sarah Marshall is the Founder, Artistic and Managing Director of The People’s Show Choir, The People’s Orchestra and The Rusty Players Orchestra. 

Founded with a principle wish to keep people playing music, Sarah grew an initially small ensemble into The People’s Orchestra, one of the UK’s leading community orchestras, in just a few short years. Sarah set out to prove that orchestras and choirs can be set up, ran differently and still wow audiences with a high standard of performance. 

Since then, The People’s Orchestra has expanded to include a team of volunteers aiding with the back-office roles such as marketing, administration, and graphical design. The charity has gone on to help hundreds of people back into paid employment, education or on to set up their own businesses, all in one of the most deprived areas of England. 

David Curtis

Principal Conductor & Music Director

David Curtis’ career has encompassed chamber music, instrumental teaching and conducting - performing, teaching and coaching at the highest level. As viola player in the Coull String Quartet, he toured all around the world, recording over 25 CDs and gave over 250 broadcasts for BBC Radio 3.   

In 1993, David founded Orchestra of the Swan, one of UK’s most successful chamber orchestras – and was its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for twenty-five years; touring with the orchestra to Germany, China, Mexico and the USA.   

David has been the Music Director of the North Hungarian Symphony and has conducted the Academy of St Martin’s-in-the-Field, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony, MoravskáFilharmonie and Festival Chorus, Mikkeli City Orchestra, Hamburg Symphonica and many other professional, student and amateur orchestras. 

“A reassuringly calm yet always encouraging and cajoling presence,” The Gramophone.  

“Curtis’s conducting is close to Boult’s, if more intimate and slightly more perceptive” The American Record Guide.  


Liz Read

Orchestra Manager

Liz first came to the orchestra as a flautist in 2017 and loved it so much she has now taken on the role of managing the orchestra! When not at TPO Towers, Liz also teaches music and leads choirs in primary schools around Birmingham. In her spare time she enjoys circus aerials skills classes, yoga, cooking and travelling. 

"TPO is a great bunch of people with lots of talent. I played with the orchestra for two years before becoming Orchestra Manager, and I'm really excited to get stuck in behind the scenes to support our players and provide lots of great opportunities for this space!" 


Daniel Pini

Assistant Condutor

Daniel Pini is an Australian conductor and cellist based in London. He has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player.  

He was born into a musical family and began cello at age 3. His Bachelor’s was completed at the Sydney Conservatorium, where he won the Corinne d’Haag Mayer Scholarship, before he moved to Germany for his Master’s degree with Claudio Bohórquez, and conducting with Christof Löser. 

Daniel has performed as a soloist with various orchestras in Australia and Germany and has played in music festivals in Australia, Germany, and Italy. He has been a member of the Pini, Hazelwood, & Friends concert series for the past 19 years, and performs regularly as a chamber musician. 

In 2018, Daniel won a Cello Fellowship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom he toured through Europe and China. In 2019, he moved to London as a member of Southbank Sinfonia. As a cellist, he regularly performs in Germany, London, and Italy, as well as with the Philharmonia Orchestra and his quartets. 

Through study, rehearsals, and performances, Daniel has pursued conducting since 2014 in Germany, Australia, and England, and is glad to work with TPO as assistant conductor, to collaborate and make music in Birmingham. His primary goals are to make experiences of music accessible and to tell stories through music. 

Julia Hartland


Julia 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 and show choir’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 difficulty 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". 

Since you're here...

… we have a small favour to ask. More people than ever are being helped back into work thanks to our players, and our outreach work is helping more and more people in our community, but this year has been the most difficult ever to raise the grant funding we need to keep going. Fears over Brexit hasn’t help and we really don’t want to increase ticket prices – we want to make our concerts open to all, including the most disadvantaged in our community. So, you can see why we need to ask for your help. The People’s Orchestra is a charity. We play great music but importantly we help loads of people back into work, 900+ to date. Our staff help students gain great marks for university projects too. We are not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. We’re volunteer led, inclusive and diverse. And this gives us the power to yes to all sorts of community causes. It lets us challenge the norm - and prove a point. Being different works. And at a time when music teaching in schools is declining and funding for school orchestras is at an all-time low, we need to expand to fill the gaps and support those who need us, it’s what sets us apart from so many others. The People’s Orchestra long-term sustainability relies on the support that we receive directly from our followers. And we would like to thank all those who are helping to make our future secure. But we cannot stop here. As more of you offer your ongoing support, we can keep investing in quality music and community support. We can remain a strong, progressive force that is open to all. If everyone who attends our concerts, or reads our news, who likes us, also helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support The People’s Orchestra – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.