(1940-) Musician and technologist, best known for his association with Moog Music in the 1970s. Van Kovering, who had become an accomplished musician and music lecturer at a young age, met Bob Moog in 1968 and decided to get involved in electronic music. At the time he co-owned a music store in central Florida; the store became one of the first Moog dealers outside of New York, and Van Kovering excelled at popularizing Moog synths among musicians in Florida. As a result, Moog Music hired him into its marketing department, where he rose to becoming a vice president of the company before departing after the Norlin buyout in 1975.
Before he left Moog, Van Kovering had gotten interested in the work being done on the Polymoog, but he decided that the technology limits of the time called for a different approach. He contacted the Mattel company about licensing the design to the Optigan, and set about developing a professional version which became the Vako Orchestron. He spent the next ten years perfecting different version of the Orchestron; although actual sales of the instrument were disappointing, it had an outsized influence due to being used by notable performers such as Kraftwerk, and it is now regarded as one of the classic analog sample playback instruments.
In the 1990s, Van Kovering developed a digital piano called the Van Kovering Interactive Piano. Its outstanding feature was a built-in computer and touch screen, by which the piano could offer instruction in playing and music theory, display sheet music, and record played tracks in the manner of an arranger workstation. It also had the ability to connect to the Internet via a built-in dial-up modem, and download additional music, educational, and reference materials. Bob Moog collaborated in the design. Van Kovering's company built and sold 4700 instruments before his financial backing dried up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Some of the instruments were used in a school that Van Kovering established in Nashville.
Today, Van Kovering, who has always had an interest in religious philosophy, operates a company called Elsewhen that markets a variety of materials related to Christian spirituality.