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Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Suspends Head of Brass

Brass faculty member Dr. Demondrae Thurman has been suspended after misconduct allegations from a former euphonium player


After a recent article by investigative reporter Sammy Sussman in Vulture, which details accusations made against Matthew Muckey and Liang Wang of the New York Philharmonic, Claire Pollock has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations made against euphonium player, Dr. Demondrae Thurman.

“I decided to share my story because I was inspired by Cara Kizer and Amanda Stewart from the NY Phil,” Pollock told The Violin Channel. “Their courage and unwavering determination to achieve change is inspiring and helped me to find my voice. I hope that by sharing my story it will amplify the voices of Cara, Amanda, and all the women who spoke up before I did.”

In her recent Facebook post, Pollock details an incident, which occurred when she was 18, during a time when she was hoping to pursue a career in euphonium performance. She had been a fan of Demondrae for years, she writes, and “hoped to cultivate a sound like his someday.”

Thurman began his role as professor of music in euphonium at the Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music in August 2018. He has also served as the school’s chair of brass and executive associate dean. 

As Pollock explains, she met Thurman in April 2018, when she was playing baritone with a community brass band — the group had flown out Thurman to perform with them.

After the performances, Thurman joined band members at a bar during which he “made flirty, inappropriate comments about myself and my older female bandmates with us to our server,” Pollock wrote.

She goes on in her Facebook post to detail a night with Thurman back at his hotel, upon his invitation, and the subsequent months of communication that followed.

“I grew to be very, very intensely trauma bonded to him,” she wrote. “Demondrae was an educational resource for me, which he brought up on several occasions when I mentioned discomfort with our age gap or his wife.

“In addition to what he did to me,” she continued, “Demondrae Thurman also continues to perform with and engage professionally with other known abusers.”

Thurman has played first euphonium and trombone in the Sotto Voce Quartet, which includes Mike Forbes, who has had allegations made against him in a case that has since been made public

Pressured into uncomfortable situations that first night, Pollock claims to have suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the assault and grooming, and said she still cannot play her instrument without experiencing severe flashbacks. 


In response to Pollock's post, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music's dean Abra Bush issued a statement.

“It has come to my attention that allegations were made yesterday against Professor Demondrae Thurman on social media,” said Bush. “In accordance with policy, the university has addressed these concerns immediately. Currently, Dr. Thurman is not serving as executive associate dean, chair of brass, or in any instructional position.

“As a reminder, Indiana University takes seriously and investigates all reports of sexual misconduct,” the dean continued. “In addition, the Jacobs School of Music is committed to maintaining an environment for all persons that is free from sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, microaggressions, bullying, and implicit biases.”


“The IU Euphonium Studio is aware of the many serious allegations against Demondrae Thurman,” the studio wrote on Facebook. “Firstly, we would like to thank everyone who has brought their stories forward. We admire your courage and bravery, and we believe you wholeheartedly. There is a long and pervasive culture in the brass world of silencing survivors and anyone experiencing harassment or discrimination. This culture is in need of major changes, and this studio is committed to being a part of the change.

“Dr. Thurman is currently no longer serving as euphonium instructor or in any other role at the Jacobs School of Music,” the post added. “We have made it clear to our administration that we cannot foresee and refuse to accept a future in which he returns to this school. We have removed all photos of Dr. Thurman from this page, and will not make any further reference to him outside of this post.”


In 2018, Pollock began studying at The University of British Columbia (UBC) as a euphonium performance major. However, her PTSD led her to drop out of music school. She claims that when she advocated for herself to music heads at UBC, she was told that “these things just happen in the industry.” She soon quit music entirely. 

“I knew I was not the only one who had had an inappropriate experience with Dr. Thurman and I wanted young musicians to be able to make an informed decision about with whom they choose to study,” Pollock told us. “Stories like mine are all too common in the world of classical music and it’s beyond time for that to change."


Pollock told The Violin Channel that she is not pursuing legal action against Dr. Thurman at this time and Thurman has failed to respond to The Violin Channel's request for comment. 

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