Founder of cymbal firm dies
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Robert Zildjian was founder of the world famous Sabian cymbals, used by renowned drummers.Robert Zildjian, founder of one of the world’s largest cymbal manufacturers, Sabian Inc., has died at the age of 89, the Associated Press reported. Sabian announced Zildjian’s death on its website March 28. The company announcement did not provide further details about his death.
“It is with deep, deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Robert ‘RZ’ Zildjian, our beloved founder and leader. A tireless and dynamic force within the drum industry, he inspired each one of us in the Sabian family to work harder, to reach farther, to make a difference and he led us by example,” the company’s statement said.
“We mourn his passing, and he will be forever in our hearts. But we are better people for having known RZ, and we are richer for having worked alongside him. We draw comfort from the knowledge that his spirit will live on in the music made by drummers the world over,” it concluded.
Sabian Cymbals are used by many famous drummers around the world, including Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Peart of Rush and drumming legend Mike Portnoy, formerly of progressive metal giants Dream Theater.
“I am truly saddened to write that SABIAN founder and our fearless leader Robert Zildjian, has passed on today at age 89. RIP Uncle Bob :(,” Portnoy tweeted.
“RIP Bob Zildjian… innovator and Cymbal visionary,” Chad Smith tweeted.
“Rip Robert Zildjian you made us drummers the best noise makers around,” Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum also wrote.
A cymbal family history
Zildjian came from a family renowned for its contribution to the development of the instrument. Avedis Zildjian I was a 17th century Armenian alchemist in Constantinople (now Istanbul). While attempting to make gold by combining base metals, he discovered an alloy of copper, tin and traces of silver with unique sound qualities, according to the company’s website. Avedis used this material to create cymbals and started Avedis Zildjian Cymbals in 1623.
The sound of the instruments was so extraordinary that the Ottoman sultan invited Avedis to live at Topkapı Palace to make cymbals for the Sultan’s elite Janissary Bands. As Avedis’s reputation grew, the Sultan gave him the name “Zildjian” in Armenian (Zilciyan in Turkish), a word meaning “son of the cymbal maker.” The business is now nearly four centuries old and has been passed down to Zildjian heirs for 15 generations
Robert Zildjian’s father, Avedis Zildjian III, came to America from Constantinople in 1909 and founded the Zildjian Company in 1928. The Zildjian Company went on to become the number one, largest cymbal manufacturing company in the world. When he died in 1979, Robert and his younger brother, Armand, took over their father’s company and became key players in popularizing the Zildjian brand.
But a dispute arose between the two brothers and Robert Zildjian left the company and founded Sabian in 1981.
Sabian is an acronym based on the first two letters of each of Zildjian’s children, Sally, Bill and Andy. The companies remain competitors.