New York Times, December 31, 2002
Armand Zildjian, 81, Head of Family of Cymbal Makers, Is Dead
By ERIC PACE
Armand Zildjian, who ran a family-owned company that has been making cymbals for almost 400 years, died on Thursday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 81 and also had a home in Quechee, Vt.
The cause was cancer, the family said.
The company, Avedis Zildjian, now based in Norwell, Mass., was founded in 1623 by a man of that name, an ancestor of Armand Zildjian, in what was then Constantinople and is now Istanbul. The company's founder is credited with formulating an alloy of copper, tin and silver that made particularly fine cymbals, now prized by rock musicians and symphonic percussionists alike. The company says it still uses that alloy and has kept its original formula, which remains a secret. A family member moved to the United States in 1929.
Armand Zildjian had been president of the company since 1977 and chairman since 1979. He began running the company after his father died in 1979, at the same time that a rift developed with his brother, Robert, who left the company and founded a rival, Sabian, in Canada. In 1999 Mr. Zildjian designated his daughter, Craigie Zildjian, as his successor, the first woman to hold the post in the company's long history.
Mr. Zildjian was born in Quincy, Mass., grew up there and attended Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass., and Colgate University. He was in the Coast Guard in the Philippines during World War II.
In addition to his daughter Craigie of Cohasset, Mass., and his brother, he is survived by his wife, the former Andra Potter; two other daughters, Wendy Mets of Virginia and Debbie Zildjian of Hingham, Mass., who is the company's vice president for human resources; a son, Robert, of England; a stepdaughter, Kristy Thompson of Vermont; two stepsons, Mark Field of Rhode Island and Peter Field of the state of Washington; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.