The art of Turkish cymbal making dates back to the 16th century; the time of the Ottoman Empire. The very first cymbals manufactured in Turkey were actually bells, created for the use in churches.
Later on, as the story goes, cymbals were produced for the Ottoman Army band. In 20th century, it had become a well-known fact that Istanbul, Turkey had evolved into the cymbal making capital of the world. Generations of master cymbalsmiths developed, refined and redefined this art in their endless search for perfection. They formulated the most musical alloy, developed and tested hand crafted methods which have been used for centuries.
As the 20th century drew towards its close, the traditional Turkish method for hand crafting cymbals had all but been abandoned due to the efficiencies and mass production facility provided by machines. In 1980, the very first Istanbul Cymbals began to enter the market place and the drummers around the world took notice immediately. What they heard and what they saw was the work of our founder, Agop Tomurcuk, who had been developing his skills since the age of 9 and had worked at the original K factory in Istanbul as the foreman until the factory”s closure in 1978.
He started this new venture in 1980, with his partner Mehmet Tamdeger under the name ‘Zilciler’. Shortly thereafter, the legendary name Istanbul was founded. In the following years, the name of the brand; ‘Istanbul Cymbals’ became glorious for creating those unique and classic sounds.
During those years, we also developed many completely original, inimitable, cutting-edge designs, while we were still employing the traditional methods. Many of these inventive designs are in our production-line today, such as Turk, Sultan, Vezir, Empire, Ottoman and Pasha.
In 1996 Agop Tomurcuk passed away prematurely because of a tragic accident. At this point the company was being pulled in two separate directions. It was determined that the company must be split. Agop’ s sons; Arman and Sarkis continued their way by following the footsteps of their father and Mehmet was free to run his own separate company as he saw fit.
Arman and Sarkis Tomurcuk were ready to bring their own fresh ideas by using their experience which they had gained in many years in the business, while they were still being loyal to the tradition. Both companies would have had the benefit of the well-respected ‘Istanbul’ name but it was distinguished by the clauses ‘Agop’ and ‘Mehmet’, which can be seen on respective logos.
In the 21st century, the art of cymbal making mentioned with the name Istanbul Agop, as it is one of the few firms which manufacture hand-made cymbals for generations. We have recently introduced the Agop Signature Series, a tribute to our founder. By being consistent to the mentality of integrating new, cutting-edge designs with age old handcrafting techniques, we have introduced many different models. ISTANBUL AGOP is proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of traditional cymbal making, as the story goes on.