Duke Performances | Duke University is the lead commissioner of Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation; co-commissioners include the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond, the Savannah Music Festival, and Strathmore.

Critical support for Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation has been provided by the Music Maker Relief Foundation — a nonprofit based in Hillsborough, NC — founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting musicians, ensuring that their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. www.musicmaker.org

Select photos in Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation by Tim Duffy, Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Made possible, in part, with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; a grant from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources; and a grant from New Music USA.

Special thanks to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, and the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for serving as research sites for Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation.

Duke Performances (Lead Commissioner)

Duke Performances, the professional performing arts presenting organization at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is committed to presenting willfully eclectic, forward-thinking performing arts of the highest quality. Through superb performances, outstanding visiting artist residencies, and the development and commissioning of exciting new work, Duke Performances is forging a culture that vigorously supports performance and encourages meaningful engagement with the Duke campus and Durham community. Annually, Duke Performances offers a robust season of 60-70 world-class performances, making extensive use of a network of Duke and Durham venues, and presenting artists spanning classical, new music, jazz, Americana, independent rock, international music, theater, and dance.


Modlin Center for the Arts, University of Richmond (Co-Commissioner)

The Modlin Center for the Arts, which opened in 1996, features state-of-the-art performance venues, galleries, studios, and classrooms. Praised as "a work of art itself" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the $22.5 million, 165,000-square-foot facility is home to the departments of art and art history, music and theatre, and dance.

The Modlin Center for the Arts presents more than 40 world-class performing arts events as part of the ModlinArts Presents Series, five productions presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance and the University Players and Dancers, and another 23 music performances as part of the Department of Music’s annual free concert series. Many of the events presented at the Modlin Center feature an academic component designed specifically for Richmond students. These activities, which are free and open to the public, include master classes and lecture demonstrations, as well as pre-concert and exhibition lectures.


Savannah Music Festival (Co-Commissioner)

Now in its 28th season, Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is Georgia’s largest musical arts event and one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world. As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences of all ages through engagement with the musical arts, SMF advances its vision through an array of musical performances that include dance, film, and narrative programs. The festival operates year-round to produce youth concerts, lectures, in-school touring programs, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, as well as a weekly radio series, recordings, and other online and digital initiatives. SMF stages original, one-time only productions, premieres, and double-bills, including many commissioned works. SMF has made collaboration a priority and works with organizations including the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, Telfair Museums, Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens, Lucas Theatre for the Arts, HSF/Davenport House Museum, Creative Coast, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah Stopover Festival, and a variety of the City’s houses of worship including Temple Mickve Israel, Christ Church Episcopal, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and Trinity United Methodist Church, all of which have helped to draw record numbers of tourists and locals alike with each consecutive year since 2003.


Strathmore (Co-Commissioner)

Strathmore is a nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts center and presenting organization based one-half mile outside the Capital Beltway in North Bethesda, Maryland. Best known for performances and events at the Music Center at Strathmore, the organization has been presenting accessible, affordable visual and performing arts in the smaller Mansion at Strathmore and all over its 16-acre site since 1981. Strathmore also presents throughout the community and at a new 250-seat venue, AMP, at Pike & Rose.

High quality arts programming, designed for audiences of many tastes, served with the hospitality and warmth of a family enterprise, are the hallmarks of Strathmore. Seasonal outdoor events seek to be inclusive in their programming appeal, reaching out to people of all ages, interests, and cultural heritage.

Artistic offerings presented by Strathmore in the Music Center include world-class performances by major international artists of folk, rock, blues, pop, R&B, jazz, world music, show tunes, dance, and classical music. The Music Center at Strathmore is home to several arts and education partners including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The National Philharmonic, Washington Performing Arts, Levine Music, CityDance, InterPLAY, and Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras.


Music Maker Relief Foundation

The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.

Since its founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted and partnered with over 300 artists, issued over 150 CDs, and reached over a million people with live performance in over 40 states and 17 countries around the globe.


Archive of Documentary Arts, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

The Archive of Documentary Arts (ADA) in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library collects, preserves, and makes accessible audio, moving images, photography, and text from around the world related to African-American history & culture, the American South, gender, human rights, occupational culture, migration, race and ethnicity, and social change.

Photographs and audiovisual materials in one format or another have been an unrecognized component of manuscript collections since the birth of photography. The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library collections contain an extensive array of photographic formats documenting the history of the photographic and moving image process including: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, autochromes, tintypes, albumen prints, salted paper prints, carbon prints, platinum prints, cyanotypes, silver gelatin prints, chromogenic color prints, acetate motion picture film, and nitrate motion picture film.

Since the early 1980s, ADA has been actively collecting documentary photography and film in support of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The collecting initiative focuses on acquiring and preserving the entire body of a photographer or filmmaker's work, including negatives, contact sheets, work prints, finished prints, correspondence, journals, motion picture footage, and sound recordings.


Southern Folklife Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) is an archival resource dedicated to collecting, preserving and disseminating traditional and vernacular music, art, and culture related to the American South. The SFC does this to advance the study and public recognition of these art forms, and support the educational, research, and service missions of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The SFC is one of the nation’s foremost archival resources for the study of American folk music and popular culture. SFC holdings extensively document all forms of southern musical and oral traditions across the entire spectrum of individual and community expressive arts, as well as mainstream media production.

Centered around the John Edwards Memorial Collection, the SFC is especially rich in materials documenting the emergence of old-time, country-western, hillbilly, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel, rock and roll, Cajun, and zydeco musics.

The SFC contains over 250,000 sound recordings, 3,000 video recordings, and 8 million feet of motion picture film as well as tens of thousands of photographs, song folios, posters, manuscripts, books, serials, research files, and ephemera.