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Istanbul Agop
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1980; 42 years ago (1980) in Istanbul, Turkey
FounderAgop Tomurcuk [1]
HeadquartersIstanbul, Turkey
Key people
Agop Tomurcuk, Arman Tomurcuk, Serkis Tomurcuk, Mel Lewis

Istanbul Agop Cymbals is a cymbal producer based in Turkey. Its products are well respected for their unique sound,[2] which is formed by the method and the alloy used, the formula of which is known only to the owners of the firm, Armenians Arman and Sarkis Tomurcuk. It is one of two companies that formed after the split of Istanbul Cymbals.


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 military band. In the 20th century, it had become well known that Istanbul had evolved into the cymbal-making capital of the world.[3] Generations of master cymbal smiths developed, refined, and redefined this art in their endless search for perfection. They formulated the most musical alloy and developed and tested hand-crafting methods which had been used for centuries. As the 20th century drew to 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 first Istanbul Cymbals began to be produced by Agop Tomurcuk, who had been working in the business of hand-made cymbal manufacture since the age of nine and had worked at the only cymbal factory in Turkey becoming the chief cymbal smith until the factory's closure in 1977.[4] Agop's friend and partner Mehmet Tamdeger established Zilciler Kollektif Sti and chose "Zilciler" as their brand name. Shortly afterwards the brand name was changed to Istanbul.

The following years saw continued development of new designs that tried to maintain traditional methods. In 1996 Agop Tomurcuk died in an accident, and as a result the company began to be pulled in two separate directions. It was determined that the company must be split between Agop's sons, Arman and Sarkis—who continued in the tradition of their father—and Mehmet who started his own separate company.[5]


Various Alchemy cymbals
Various Alchemy cymbals

"Alchemy Cymbals" is a brand of hand-made cymbals belonging to Istanbul Agop; the brand has its own production line. The main difference between Istanbul Agop and Alchemy Cymbals is the finishing process. Alchemy Cymbals also has low-cost cymbals in its production line for beginners and semi-professionals.[6][non-primary source needed]

Some of their lines have been designed in collaboration with notable professional drummers, including Mel Lewis[citation needed], Cindy Blackman[citation needed], and Lenny White[citation needed].


Many prominent drummers of multiple well known bands, as well as many younger contemporary players all spanning multiple genres from rock to jazz and indie to heavy metal all endorse the brand including:

See also


  1. ^ "Our History" on official website
  2. ^ "Istanbul Agop Mel Lewis Signature Cymbals" on
  3. ^ Hugo Pinksterboe: The Cymbal Book, published by Hal Leonard (1992) - ISBN 0-7935-1920-9
  4. ^ "Istanbul Cymbals / About". Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  5. ^ History on Alchemy website
  6. ^ Alchemy cymbals on Istambul's products range