We’re excited to announce that playwright/screenwriter Susan Cinoman of Woodbridge and jazz pianist/composer Noah Baerman of Middletown are the winners of the inaugural Guilford Foundation/Guilford Performing Arts Festival Artists’ Awards. The two were chosen by festival programmers and independent judges from a field of applicants from throughout Connecticut. Each will receive a $2,500 grant toward the creation of new work.

We created the awards this year with the Guilford Foundation’s support to encourage the development of new work by professional Connecticut artists and to provide a vehicle for the debut of original material at the festival. Cinoman’s and Baerman’s works will be performed in full for the first time at the next Guilford Performing Arts Festival, scheduled for September 26-29, 2019.

Susan Cinoman

Cinoman, who won in the Drama category, will complete work on a full-length play, “Guenevere,” that uses the King Arthur legend to illuminate the struggle for power and control between women and their closest male friends, in love, at work and at play.

In Cinoman’s play, Guenevere, a childhood friend of Arthur, pulls the legendary sword from the stone and becomes the rightful ruler of Camelot—setting up a battle of wills, intrigue, romance, murder and a feminist perspective on the dynamics between men and women, on politics and on destiny. Cinoman plans a staged reading of “Guenevere” at the 2019 festival; a portion of the play while in development was presented previously at Connecticut’s Ivoryton Playhouse as part of its annual Women’s Playwright Initiative.

Cinoman has written for the ABC television shows “The Goldbergs” and “Schooled.” Her one-act plays “Cinoman and Rebeck” and “Gin and Bitters” were produced off-Broadway at the Miranda Theatre in New York City, and her short play “Cat and Dog Watch the Tonys” staged at the Stella Adler Theatre in Los Angeles this past August. Several of her plays are available as films, including “All Me, All the Time,” and “Love and Class in Connecticut,” which received The Best Connecticut Filmmaker Award at the Connecticut Film Festival in 2009.

Noah Baerman

Noah Baerman

Baerman, winner in the Music category, will develop an extended instrumental jazz composition in tribute to Claire Randall, a musical collaborator and former student who was murdered at the age of 26. The piece, entitled “Cliff Palace” and part of a larger body of work addressing Ms. Randall’s life and the impact of her passing, will be performed by an ensemble featuring piano, acoustic bass, drums and wind instruments.

Baerman has released ten CDs as a bandleader and published ten instructional books with the Alfred Publishing Company. His ninth CD, Ripples, issued in 2014, is one of his many works of socially conscious music, addressing subjects including disability, community engagement and the American foster care crisis. His 2003 release, Patch Kit, revolved around his struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an incurable connective tissue disorder with which he was born. The musicians on that CD included bassist Ron Carter and the late drummer Ben Riley; he also has collaborated with trombonist Robin Eubanks, percussionist Warren Smith and saxophonists Steve Wilson, Jimmy Greene, Wayne Escoffery and Claire Daly among many others.

Baerman was the recipient of a 2008 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation. He teaches at several institutions including Wesleyan University and is the founder and artistic director of Resonant Motion, Inc., a nonprofit that explores connections between music and positive change.

Cinoman and Baerman will be introduced at a limited-seat reception in Guilford on September 29, 2018. Tickets are $50 per person; to attend or get more information, email gpafest@gmail.com.

The 2019 Guilford Performing Arts Festival will feature a diverse program of music and theater, opera, poetry and storytelling, ballet and contemporary dance, circus acts, buskers and spontaneous happenings. Performances and workshops will take place on and around the Green and in various other places in town—the community center, library, schools, churches, coffee shops, markets, bookstores, farms, arts centers and historic homes.

The festival started in 2017 with the goals of enlivening the Connecticut Shoreline, illuminating social causes and fostering cultural diversity, building audiences for live performance, provoking thought and encouraging the creation of new work by Connecticut artists.

For more information, email us at gpafest@gmail.com.