Everett Joseph “Vic” Firth, drumstick manufacturer and percussionist, dies at the age of 85 in Boston, MA

Everett Joseph “Vic” Firth
A Winchester native who grew up in Maine, Mr. Firth early on became dissatisfied with the quality of the available drumsticks and began manufacturing his own. The enterprise turned into an enormously successful family business.

In 2002, the Globe described Vic Firth Inc. as “the leading percussion-equipment company in the world.” At that time, it was producing 100,000 pairs of drumsticks each week out of a factory based in Maine.

On December 20, 2010, it was announced that Avedis Zildjian Company had merged with Vic Firth, Inc. According to the announcement, both companies will continue to run autonomously.

“Mr. Firth, spent more than 40 years as the principal tympanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing under a roster of distinguished conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Serge Koussevitzky, Erich Leinsdorf and Seiji Ozawa.

He never planned to become a Stradivari of sticks. But by the early 1960s, after having played with the orchestra for a dozen years, he had grown frustrated with the drumsticks on the market, which, he realized, could not meet the demands of the full symphonic repertoire.

Working in his garage, he whittled a prototype that had the lightness, versatility and equilibrium he desired, and engaged a wood turner to fabricate the sticks. Mr. Firth intended them solely for his own use, but his students clamored for them. Soon other drummers did too, and in 1963 Vic Firth Inc., as the company was originally known, was born.

Today the company, which has headquarters in Boston and a factory in Newport, Me., turns out some 12 million drumsticks and mallets annually. Its wares have been used by renowned classical, jazz and rock drummers, among them Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones and Anton Fig of David Letterman’s house band”.  Write  Margalit Fox on The New York Times.

He enhanced with absolute legitimacy the meaning of MADE IN THE USA.

Gabriella Ruggieri & partners sends their condolences to the friends and family of the truly legendary Everett “Vic” Firth.

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