In 1927, Avedis Zildjian III (1889-1979), a successful candy manufacturer, learned he was next in line to take over the family craft. Already a U.S. citizen, Avedis was reluctant to return to Turkey and only agreed to run the family business if he could stay in America. A foundry was thus set up in Quincy, MA, where Avedis mastered every aspect of the detailed art of cymbal making under the guidance of his Uncle Aram.
Anxious to tap into the burgeoning “swing” music market, Avedis hit the road in 1929 with his American-made Zildjian cymbals. Meetings with drummers such as Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Jo Jones led him to create “paper thin” cymbals that produced a sharp brilliant tone. Soon thereafter, he introduced the innovative Hi-Hat, as well as large cymbals called Bounces or Rides, that produced the distinctive “pingy” tones associated with modern jazz drumming.
Zildjian cymbals also helped shape the sounds of rock. The massive popularity of rock’n’roll ushered in the need for medium and medium-heavy weight cymbals that could cut through the roar of loud amplifiers. Zildjian responded in the late 1960s by introducing its rock cymbals and New Beat Hi-Hats for drummers looking for a bigger sound.
In 1977, Avedis passed his title of President to Armand Zildjian (1921-2002), his eldest son, who had worked by his father’s side for over 40 years. During that time period, Armand had become friends with many of the great jazz drummers and was a pioneer in the area of artist relations—now standard practice in the music products industry. A musician himself, Armand continuously explored new sounds, which set off a period of innovations in cymbal making. He modernized production methods by reinvesting profits into customized equipment, such as the rotary hearth oven, double rolling mills and computer-controlled hammering. And, as always, collaborations with percussionists remained a cornerstone of the Zildjian philosophy as the company entered the 21st century.
In 1999, Armand Zildjian passed control to his daughter Craigie, making her the first female CEO in the company’s history, and to his daughter Debbie, an executive with the company, thus breaking a 375-year-old tradition of male dominance. Armand’s son, Robert (Rab) also grew up in the business and remains involved as a major shareholder and member of its board of directors.
The Zildjian Company is known for its commitment to quality and innovation, while preserving the family character and rich tradition of the business.
Street Address:Museum of Making Music5790 Armada DriveCarlsbad, CA 92008Phone: (760) 438-5996Fax: (760) 438-8964Toll Free: (877) 551-9976Send us an eMail