Thursday, May 23, 2024

If Cambridge had an official classical composer, it might well be Johannes Brahms. He was so strongly opposed to a popular aesthetic approach of the 1800s he had trouble finding work; he made an enemy of Richard Wagner; he loved a married woman 14 years his elder; one of his central works, according to The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music, was a “deeply felt, nondenominational statement of faith.”

In short, he was as opinionated, controversial, prickly but generous and brilliant as anyone in contemporary Cambridge. His work changed the world.

And he will be here Sunday in a Brahms Celebration thrown by the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.

The group, made of skilled volunteers with a passion to play, will be performing Brahms’ “Tragic Overture,” op. 81, Symphony No. 2, op. 74, and “Hungarian Dances,” Nos. 1, 3 and 10, conducted by music director Cynthia Woods. A reception with light refreshments will follow the concert.

Those coming to the concert are asked to bring a nonperishable food item, if possible, for donation to the food pantry at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Porter Square. The food collection is in conjunction with the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestras Feeding America event this month, said Carol Thomas, a member of the orchestra’s board of directors.

The concert is at 4 p.m. at the Greater Boston Vineyard Church, 170 Rindge Ave., Cambridge. Tickets are $12 advance (or $8 for seniors); or  $15 at the door ($10 for seniors). Children under 12 get in free with an adult with a ticket. Call (617) 576-1819 to order tickets or write to [email protected].