- function: executive director for the arts
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- WOMEX 2010
- WOMEX 2009
Emil J. Kang arrived in January 2005 as the University of North Carolina’s first Executive Director for the Arts, a senior administrative post created to help unify and elevate the performing arts at the University. In his first season, Kang introduced the University’s first major performing arts series, inaugurated in conjunction with the grand re-opening of the University’s main venue, Memorial Hall. Kang is also a member of the music faculty and serves as Professor of the Practice. Kang has taught courses in artistic entrepreneurship and the creative process and will co-teach a first-year seminar in music with Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser in Fall 2009. Kang’s particular passion is in working with individual undergraduates interested in integrating the arts into their curriculum and through internship experiences. In only its second year, Carolina Performing Arts was awarded only one of eight coveted “Creative Campus Innovations Grants” funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In addition, the University was invited to join the national consortium of Major University Presenters (MUP) just two years after launching the program.
Prior to coming to Chapel Hill, Kang served as President and Executive Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) where he spearheaded a $125 million capital and endowment campaign, the largest in the Orchestra’s history. Kang has also held positions of Vice President of Operations for the DSO, Orchestra Manager for the Seattle Symphony, and Orchestra Management Fellow with the League of American Orchestras. As an Orchestra Management Fellow, Kang worked with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Houston, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kang is a frequent speaker and has led numerous local, state and national outreach efforts. Kang has also served on many grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the North Carolina Arts Council, among others. Kang was the youngest and first Asian-American to serve as president of a major symphony orchestra. Honors include being named “Tar Heel of the Week” by the News & Observer (NC) and one of “40 under 40” by Crain’s Detroit Business. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), the North Carolina Symphony, and the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has also served on national boards that include Henry Ford Hospital and United Neighborhood Centers of America. Kang has been a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and completed the Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management program at Harvard Business School. Born in New York City, and trained in violin studies from a young age, he holds a degree in Economics from the University of Rochester in New York.