Who we are and why we started this company

Who we are and why we started this company

Welcome to SoundBox!

My name is Philo Lee, and alongside my partner in crime, Seth Biagini, I am a co-founder of SoundBox.

Seth and I crossed paths during our time at the Juilliard School. Although we spent a few years apart, with Seth in Timothy Eddy's studio and myself in Natasha Brofsky's, we eventually connected when Seth moved into Natasha's studio.

A few years after graduating from Juilliard, both Seth and I were auditioning for orchestra positions. We embarked on some wild carpooling adventures, including a 32-hour drive from NY to Houston for the Houston Symphony audition. Our auditions took us to various cities such as Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago. Eventually, Seth landed a spot with the Oregon Symphony, while I secured a position with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Post-pandemic, when auditions resumed, I decided to audition for the Buffalo Philharmonic where I would end up winning a section position. My motivation for the BPO audition was to be closer to my wife, who was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic. She was doing a 5 hour commute from Rochester to NJ to teach and I felt that if there was opportunity to work at the same place or at least near each other, I should take that chance. Luckily I had won a position there and became very close with a violist named Josh Lohner.

The hour-and-fifteen-minute drive between Rochester and Buffalo became a perfect opportunity for brainstorming. It was during these rides that a more concreate concept of string trials took shape. While I have always had the the idea of trial strings in the back of my mind, I lacked the courage to start a company. Sharing thoughts with Josh helped refine the concept and made it seem more feasible.

Strings today come with a hefty price tag, making it challenging to justify the expense, especially when new strings promise a different sound. I personally only change strings when they break or before important events like auditions. Typically, I'd only replace the A and sometimes the D string. However, the cost, even for these strings, can reach nearly $50 each.

Recent years have seen the launch of new strings like Il Cannone from Larsen and the Versum/Versum Soloist, and Rondo from Thomastik Infeld. While they've received rave reviews, their prices exceed four hundred dollars. Given the uncertainty, it was nerve-wracking to make the purchase. 

In light of these challenges, Seth and I founded SoundBox. Our aim is to help musicians avoid financial risks by offering string trials. While there is still a cost involved, it's often up to 75% less than buying a new set.

What's great is that if the trial set suits you, you can pay the difference and keep the strings. Returns are only necessary if you want to exchange a used set for a brand new one. This approach reduces risk for you, the consumer.

We believe this trial program is an excellent opportunity for musicians of all levels. We hope you'll take advantage of it to find the strings that best suit you and your instrument.

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