Alex Kovling

Horn Principal

Alex KovlingWhat city are you living in now? Springfield, VA

Where did you study? BM from Texas Tech University and a MM from Rice University

What is your favorite piece of music?  I can’t honestly narrow it down to one. There are so many works out there with great ideas and historical context and a wide range of emotions portrayed. My favorite works tend to be by Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Frederic Chopin, and of course Ludwig Van Beethoven. I am of course more interested in music involving my instrument. For this reason, I love movie music.

What do you enjoy in your spare time?  Playing and watching just about any sport. I am a huge sports fanatic. Most of my time is spent just hanging out enjoying a beer and great food with my closest friends and family. My favorite nights are just spent doing the simple things with my wife Rachel and my FOUR dogs.

What is your fondest Annapolis Symphony memory? My fondest memory of the Annapolis Symphony is when we performed Deep Field by Eric Whitacre in the Strathmore alongside the Naval Academy Chorus. A work depicting space, the chorus were scattered throughout the audience to give a feeling of being far apart yet keeping the audience feeling like they were close and connected to the music literally happening around them. The chorus then used the flashlights on their phones to create a stellar effect (both meanings) throughout the expansive hall. To this day I am not sure if it was even planned, or one of those things that just happens in the moment. Either way, I will never forget the power that it evoked.


Alex Kovling, a native of Lewisville, Texas, joined the U.S. Navy Band in 2015 and was appointed Principal Horn of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2020, having previously held the position of Third Horn since 2018. Since being in the D.C area, he has been guest principal with the Columbus Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, and York Symphony as well as regularly performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra Naples Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Maryland Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, Signature Theater in Arlington, and the Chesapeake Orchestra. Alex takes advantage of chamber music opportunities as a member of Barclay Brass and with his brass quintet, Apex Brass, second prize winner of the Bucharest International Music Competition in 2021. He also occasionally performs with the Washington Symphonic Brass, Annapolis Symphony Brass Quintet and Wind Quintet, Dominion Brass, and the Navy Band Chamber Recital Series. Alex performed the Gordon Jacob Horn Concerto with the Annapolis Symphony in 2021 and soloed with the Navy Band in 2018. He also has enjoyed covering Principal Horn on occasion in the Navy Band and has even performed alongside Mannheim Steamroller, Andrea Bocelli, The Beach Boys, and Katy Perry.

Mr. Kovling received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University, where he studied with Christopher M. Smith. After graduating, he continued his studies at Rice University, earning his Master’s Degree in Music. While at Rice, he studied with William VerMeulen and was part of a CD project called “The Christmas Horn” conducted by Dale Clevenger. Giving back to the younger generation of aspiring musicians, Alex has taught masterclasses at Texas Tech University, Baylor University, and Kansas State University. In 2022, the horn section of the Navy Band presented at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

While still a student in Texas, Mr. Kovling was third horn of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2013 and second horn of Santa Fe Pro Musica in the 2012-2013 season. He was also a regular substitute/extra horn with the Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and the Amarillo Symphony. Doubling on Wagner tuba as well as French horn, Kovling performed with the Houston Grand Opera in Richard Wagner’s “Die Walkure.” Mr. Kovling won several awards including the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition and was a two-time winner of the Mid-South Horn Workshop solo competition. He attended numerous summer festivals, including the National Orchestral Institute for three years, Texas Music Festival, Round Top Festival Institute, and the Banff Brass Residency.