Is a leading advocate for the seminal importance of high-quality music education for all children. Her most recent book is Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music (co-authored with Eric Booth; W.W. Norton 2016). A definitive survey of the worldwide El Sistema movement, Playing for Their Lives provides vivid accounts of significant youth orchestra programs around the world, and is grounded in research in over 25 countries.
Tunstall’s previous book, Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music (W.W. Norton, 2012), won a 2013 ASCAP Award and the 2016 Prix Des Muses in France. Changing Lives has been published in six languages and has helped catalyze the global movement for social change through music.
Tunstall is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Ensemble and The World Ensemble, newsletters for the North American Sistema community and the global Sistema community. She is a frequent speaker and consultant on the subject of music education and social change. In her home state, she has led the formation of the El Sistema New Jersey Alliance, the first U.S. statewide alliance of El Sistema-inspired programs.
Also, the author of Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson (Simon & Schuster, 2008), she is a lifelong music educator and writer. A graduate of Yale University, Columbia University, and Boston University, she has combined her career as a writer with her work as a music educator at every level, from public school general music to college music history. She currently maintains a piano studio in New Jersey.