James M. Thurmond has had a long and varied career in both professional performance and music education. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied horn with Anton Horner; ensemble playing with Marcel Tabuteau, William Kincaid and Luis Bailly; and solfege with Renee Longy-Miquelle. He earned his academic degrees at American University and The Catholic University of America.
He has played horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony and the U.S. Navy Band. While in the Navy he organized the U.S. Navy School of Music (now the School of Music for the armed forces) and was Officer-in-Charge until his retirement. During World War II he was responsible for all fleet bands and music in the Navy.
For twenty-five years he taught at Lebanon Valley College, and has also served on the faculties of Temple University, Messiah College and Gettysburg College. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Beta Mu, and the American Bandmasters Association.