History of The String Bank

The concept of the The String Bank arose after teaching music at several underprivileged Los Angeles schools led to the realization that the largest factor limiting students’ ability to study music is not the lack of instruments but the lack of upkeep and maintenance, in particular, strings.  In April 2016, we decided there must be an easy and cost effective way for professional musicians to donate strings, which they often change every few weeks, and simply discard. So we started The String Bank. 

After doing some research, we found that there are a few websites which give individuals the ability to donate their strings, with little success. It's time consuming and expensive to package, label, and ship one package of strings. And it isn't clear where these strings are going. 

In May 2016 we were awarded the Tarisio Trust Young Grant for the development of The String Bank. 

The String Bank is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. 

Meet the Team:

Richard Xu

Jonathan Sussman

John Mietus

Cofounder and CEO, Jonathan Sussman is a 21 year old flutist at the University of Southern California currently studying with James Walker. He has been playing the flute since the age of 6 and began playing the violin and viola at age 9. He has been studying flute with Jane Masur since age 9, and the violin and viola with Eileen Wingard since age 11.

In 2016 he won 1st prize in the Grossmont  Music Scholarship Council Competition. In 2015 he won 1st prize winds instrumental in the Musical Merit Competition, 1st place in the Rancho Bernardo Chorale Scholarship Competition, 1st place in the  Music Teacher’s Association of California (MTAC) Senior Scholarship Competition and the San Diego Symphony “Hot Shots” Concerto Competition. He received 2nd place in both 2015 and 2016 from the La Jolla Symphony Young Artists Competition. Jonathan received 1st prize in the 2013 San Diego Flute Guild Silver and Orchestral Competitions. In 2012 Jonathan won 1st place in the MTAC VOCE State Competition and MTAC Concerto Competition, for which he was invited to perform a solo with the New City Sinfonia of San Diego.

Jonathan was principle violist in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) of Rancho Bernardo, and has performed as soloist alongside the orchestra. He has also performed as viola soloist alonside the Tiffereth Israel Community Orchestra. 

Jonathan just wants to help others enjoy the gift and power of music. He frequently performs voluntarily in retirement and convalescent residences, schools, and community events with his father, pianist Alan Sussman, and as a member of a local chamber group. 

Aside from music Jonathan enjoys cycling, tennis, and programming. He also enjoys science and math is a double major in biomedical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Cofounder and COO, John Mietus is an 21 year old double bassist who is currently studying at the University of Southern California with David Allen Moore. Past teachers include Henry Peyrebrune, Paul Ellison, Nicholas Walker, Tracy Rowell, Dominick Fiore, Francois Rabbath, and t​he late Anthony Bianco.

He has won several competitions including 1st and 2nd place in the Sigma Alpha Iota string competition, 3rd place in the International Society of Bassists Young Artist’s Competition, 1st place in the International Music Festival Concerto Competition, 1st place in the Cleveland Philharmonic Concerto Competition, 1st place in the Akron Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, 2nd place in the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition, and 2nd place in the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition, among others. He has also been a featured performer on “From The Top”.

John has performed with orchestras and organizations such as the Chagrin Valley Studio Orchestra, Cleveland Philharmonic, Ohio Music Educator’s Association All-State Orchestra, Akron Youth Philharmonic, Akron Youth Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra.

Committed to the advancement of young musicians, John is a volunteer with the El Sistema strings program, Rainey Institute of Music, Community Outreach of Devoted Artists, and the Thornton Outreach Program, helping young artists learn and achieve through music. He also enjoys performing bass and piano with his sister at weddings, senior residences, hospitals and a variety of community events.

John has performed as a featured soloist with the International Music Festival Orchestra, the Ohio Music Educator’s National Conference, the Thornton Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Youth Symphony, the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Shaker Heights High School Orchestra, and the Concerto Chamber Orchestra.

At the end of it all, John just wants to make a difference.
CFO, Richard Xu, 21, is both an active violinist and prolific composer. Starting violin from the age of 12, he has studied under San Diego Symphony violinist Hernan Constantino and California Institute of Music Chairperson Michael Tseitlin.

Through his violin playing career, Richard has won top prizes in various competitions including the Helen Goodlin Scholarship Competition, MTAC Voce State Competition, La Jolla Symphony Symphony and Choir Young Artist Competition, San Diego Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, and performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Hall.

He has studied in masterclasses with international soloist Ray Chen, concertmaster of the LA Philharmonic Martin Chalifour, and former New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow.

Richard is also a pianist and avid composer of Romantic, Contemporary and Film Score music, and has contributed original scores to games and media projects of Argent Games and That-a-Way Studios.

Currently, Richard is attending the IU Jacobs School of Music, studying under the internationally renowned soloist Mark Kaplan, pursuing a Violin Performance Degree, as well as the IU Kelley School of Business, pursuing a Finance Degree. He hopes to eventually combine his passions by creating a music studio that will allow him to perform, record and compose for films and games.

Special Thanks to our College Ambassadors:
Dana Mietus--University of Iowa
Maggie Cox--Rice Universiy