Boston, MA — Robert Zildjian, cymbal mastermind and founder of musical cymbal manufacturer Sabian Inc., has died. He was 89 years old. Sabian announced Zildjian’s death on its website Thursday.
Robert Zildjian’s name will be recognizable to drummers and many rock ‘n’ roll fans. As a member of the Zildjian family, his surname is etched on musical cymbals across the globe, as is that of Sabian, the rival cymbal manufacturer he founded after a family feud in 1981.
Zildjian was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1923, the son of Armenian immigrant Avedis Zildjian. The family imported their knowledge of cymbal making to the States, and swiftly set up a US arm of their business. The business proved a profitable venture, with the rock ‘n’ roll era resulting in a staggering demand for its percussion products.
The Zildjian business was passed on to future generations of family members, but when a dispute 0e0ru00pted between Robert and his brother, Armand, Robert opted to leave Zildjian and create his own company.
Sabian Inc. was founded in New Brunswick, Canada in 1981. The companies continue to be rivals, and both are among the world’s most popular cymbal brands. Users of Sabian cymbals include Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who paid a Twitter tribute to Zildjian – see below), Neil Peart of Rush, and drumming legend Mike Portnoy, formerly of progressive metal giants Dream Theater.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the excitement and drama of live drums up close, chances are you should be raising a glass to the acumen and vision of Robert Zildjian. RIP, Robert.
RIP Bob Zildjian.. innovator and Cymbal visionary.
— Chad Smith (@RHCPchad) March 28, 2013
It is with deep, deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Robert “RZ” Zildjian, our beloved founder and… fb.me/1BEKPgicD
— SABIAN Vault (@SABIAN_Vault) March 28, 2013