After a week’s travel, I’m catching up on stories and reviews that appeared in the Washington Post while I was gone.

As the Friday Morning Music Club prepared for its 125th anniversary gala and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played its fourth “Rusty Musicians” concert with amateurs from the region, I took a look at performance opportunities for amateurs — whose lives in some cases don’t look all that different from those of freelancing professionals. Amateur musicians savor performance opportunities, by Anne Midgette.

In a departure from classical music, I visited the Sackler’s exhibition of photographs of Cixi, the Empress Dowager of China: an attempt to stage-manage her public image for the international stage that anticipated countless similar attempts by other demonized political figures in the years since. Century-old portraits show good eye for public relations, by Anne Midgette.

As for reviews: on Sunday afternoon, Stephen Brookes heard the Verge Ensemble’s strong and varied three-piano recital at the Corcoran.

On Monday night, Charles T. Downey attended the tenor Paul Agnew’s recital at La Maison Française, which made the harpsichordist feel faint.

On Wednesday, Joe Banno checked out the China-USA concert, part of the Kennedy Center’s ongoing festival China: the art of a nation, but found that many Chinese composers were producing the equivalent of warmed-over Menotti.

And on Thursday, Cecelia Porter heard the Four Nations Ensemble play obscure Baroque music at the Freer; Stephen Brookes checked out the Post-Classical Ensemble’s latest non-classical venue; and Robert Battey heard a short Dvorak recital as part of the ongoing Mutual Inspirations festival devoted to the music of that composer.

In other news, the young cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who appeared this past weekend with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was announced this week as a recipient of the MacArthur Awards. Another recipient of the so-called “genius grant,” which comes with a cash award of $500,000, was Francesco Núñez, founder and music director of the Young People’s Chorus in New York.

What performances did you hear this week?