Robert "Bob" Zildjian, founder of the Sabian Cymbal Company and a prominent figure in the global percussion industry for six decades, died on March 27 at his home in Brunswick, Maine after a brief battle with cancer. He was 89 years old.
Endowed with a sharp intellect and a cutting wit, he applied his boundless energy to expanding the percussion industry in the years following World War II, first at The Zildjian Company, founded by ancestors in Turkey, and later at Sabian Cymbals. He often remarked, "The business is the family, and the family is the business," and the lines between his personal and commercial life were blurred. Leading percussionists and business associates were close personal friends, his children were involved in the cymbal business, and thinking about the business occupied most of his waking hours.
During Bob's 60-year career, the industry got bigger, the scope and quality of products improved, and better operating methods led to dramatic efficiency gains. However, amidst all these tangible advances, the unbridled enthusiasm and optimism that Bob and his cohorts brought to the business has been dimmed. It will be missed.