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Meet Emil Kang, 'Elevating The Arts'

Emil Kang bucked expectations when he decided to pursue a career in the arts. He was the first in his family born in the United States after his parents emigrated from Korea, and he was expected to capitalize on the new opportunity by studying medicine.

Instead, he took a job as a receptionist at a New York art gallery. He made connections with prominent American art institutions, like the National Endowment for the Arts, and eventually became the youngest person to lead the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at age 31, and the first Asian-American to lead a major symphony in the U.S.

When UNC-Chapel Hill recruited Kang to come to North Carolina in 2005 to lead the new Carolina Performing Arts organization, he was told one thing: elevate the arts at Carolina. He called in every favor he was owed, and today CPA is a brand that attracts talent from all over the world.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Kang about his life and work as an administrator of the arts.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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