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Aspen Times writer

The Wheeler Film Series will present nine films in April, including several award-winning movies.Espionage thriller “Syriana,” starring best supporting actor Oscar winner George Clooney, opens the month April 2-3. Duncan Tucker’s “Transamerica,” starring Felicity Huffman as a pre-operative transsexual driving cross-country with her newfound son, returns April 10-11. Huffman, an Aspen product, earned the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, and was nominated for a best actress Academy Award.”C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” a mockumentary chronicling the last 150 years of America as if the South had won the Civil War, shows April 12-13. The French film “Joyeux Noël,” nominated by both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes as best foreign film, follows April 16-17.The Wheeler then pulls out all the stops, presenting all five 2005 best picture nominees: “Brokeback Mountain,” April 18-19; “Good Night and Good Luck,” April 20-21; Academy Award-winner “Crash,” April 23-25; “Munich,” April 26-27; and “Capote,” April 28-29.All Wheeler Films begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Aspen Music Festival’s 2006 summer season features eight designated special events.The 2006 Music Festival runs June 21-Aug. 20 with daily events, including orchestral concerts, chamber music, opera, lectures, master classes and more.The special-events calendar opens June 28, with violinist Gil Shaham performing an evening of Brahms. An Evening of Words and Music, with performers to be announced, is set for July 1. The Emerson String Quartet joins the festival-long celebration of the 100th birthday of Shostakovich with a program of the composer’s quartets July 11.On July 15, Emerson cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han play more Shostakovich, the Cello Sonata in D minor and the Piano Trio No. 2. Violinist Sarah Change performs Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” July 19. Cellist Lynn Harrell, making his first Aspen appearance in four years, plays Debussy’s Cello Sonata July 26.Pianist Lang Lang plays a program of Mozart and Chopin Aug. 9. The schedule of special events concludes Aug. 19 with pianist Vladimir Feltsman playing an all-Mozart program, part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.Festival passes do not provide admission to special events.Additional festival highlights include cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor David Zinman performing the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Cello Concerto (June 25); Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto, performed by cellist Truls Mørk, pianist Yefim Bronfman and violinist Gil Shaham (July 5); the Western states premiere of the Ned Rorem opera “Our Town” (July 29 and 31 and Aug. 2); the Aspen debut of violinist Hilary Hahn (Aug. 4); and the concert-drama “Who Killed Mozart?” with conductor Murry Sidlin and pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter (Aug. 18).For a complete program and ticket information, go to, or call 925-9042.

Sonoma Jazz +, produced in association with Jazz Aspen Snowmass, has announced the program for its 2006 festival. The second annual Sonoma Jazz +, featuring food, wine and music, is set for May 25-28 in the Field of Dreams, four blocks from Sonoma’s historic main plaza.Opening the festival are rockers the Steve Miller Band, with special guest, saxophonist John Handy. Opening is singer-saxophonist Curtis Stigers.Bluesman B.B. King, on his 80th birthday celebration tour, performs May 26, with jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves opening. Natalie Cole headlines May 27, and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, with special guests to be announced, closes the festival May 28.Also to be announced are the Wine & Song events, set in small venues around the Sonoma Plaza.For tickets or further information, go to, or call 1-866-527-TIXX (8499).

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