In Memoriam: Maestro John G. Kovac, November 1945 - July 2022

Posted by Davy Clark on

It's with a heavy & grieved heart I announce the passing of our most beloved Founder, harp-maker, harpist, inventor & mentor, Maestro John G. Kovac (July 2022). 

"John G. Kovac, beloved husband, brother, Harpist, and friend, 76, of Front Royal, Virginia, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, at his home..."

Reprinted from the opening of John's obituary. The whole can be found below:

John G. Kovac

What can be said? Those of the world who knew him or, at least knew of him had great admiration & respect for John Kovac & what he brought to the World at large. I had the privilege of a somewhat closer relationship with the Maestro himself.

What he freely taught me I endeavor to pass on to the world:  John's Legacy as an avid Harpist & Do-it-Yourself Harp-Making Treasure. What my mentor gave of himself to this often cold world, his talent, intelligence, his passion & kindness, and great humility I pledge to continue on with his Legacy, as much as I can so that John G. Kovac will not be lost to the world.

I write this only a few scores of minutes before the Maestro is finally laid to rest. Who can know what to write at moments like this? Above all, I am thankful he came into my life when he did. Amen.

If you have comments about John Kovac, please, consider sharing them with us. You can leave a comment here on this blog and I will add all appropriate comments to our John Kovac Tribute Page. I plan to keep the Tribute Page open for your comments, on what Maestro Kovac meant to you, until July 6, 2023. 

With heart broken, first, we pause, then, moving forward, John's Legacy will continue onward...

- Davy


  • From Nairobi, Kenya
    I recall how John sent me videos on email and tutorials willingly to help me learn about this amazing instrument. He really shared lots of insight and welcomed me into the world of harp players. I will forever cherish this and with his name engraved on my Harp, I will remember his generosity and will strive to keep his legacy. May he rest in peace.

    Francis, Kenya.

    Francis Wakahia on

  • Years ago, at “Clifftop” (The Appalachian Stringband Festival), I stopped by John’s camp with my hammered dulcimer, listened to him play some. John welcomed me to sit down and share some tunes for a lovely hour and a half. It occurred to me that this was a particularly unusual jam to have at an old-time festival! But also a really memorable one. The piece that stuck with me was Mi Despedida, which I continue to play. In fact, this past year, I taught the piece at a workshop (The Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreat) to 50 hammered dulcimer players. I told the story of my brief encounter and then listened to John’s playing of the piece from a YouTube recording. I will always remember and be thankful for that jam and our short time together. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Ken Kolodner on

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