1. PhotoViola Davis as Ma Rainey. The Oscar-nominated movie focuses on her anxieties rather than her artistic contributions.
    CreditDavid Lee/Netflix, via Associated Press

    Critic’s Notebook

    Why Is It So Hard to Show Black Women’s Musical Genius Onscreen?

    Oscar-nominated performances this season put the emphasis on the trauma, not the artistry, of Billie Holiday and Ma Rainey. The most insightful movie might just be “Soul.”


Classical Music

More in Classical Music ›
  1. PhotoThe composer John Adams, second from left, after the New York premiere of his “Grand Pianola Music,” which was greeted at Avery Fisher Hall with a rare chorus of boos.
    CreditBert Bial/New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives

    A Battle of Boos and Cheers at the Symphony

    In the early 1980s, John Adams’s “Grand Pianola Music” defied the seriousness of classical music. Not everyone liked that.