The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s first concert in its 2011-2012 Entergy Masterworks season will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, 275 St. Louis St.

The symphony marks its 63rd season by featuring violinist Giora Schmidt on opening night.

The evening will open with Maurice Ravel’s “La valse, poéme chorégraphique.” Schmidt joins the orchestra in Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61,” one of the most challenging of violin works ever written due to technically ambitious octaves.

The enchantment of Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” will complete the evening. Stravinsky’s unique voice is known as a blend of Russian nationalism and the styles of Debussy and Ravel.

Born in Philadelphia in 1983 to professional musicians from Israel, Giora began playing the violin at the age 4. He has studied under Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman at the Manhattan School of Music, and Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School.?

Ticket holders are invited to the concert hall at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-concert discussion in the Concert Conversations series with Music Director Timothy Muffitt. This feature allows patrons to gain insight into composers’ lives, historical background of pieces, and other pieces of musical knowledge.

Concert Conversations takes place at 6:30 p.m. prior to each Entergy Masterworks concert in the River Center Theatre and is included at no charge with a concert ticket.

Also, a lobby performance will be provided by Hera Winds, a clarinet ensemble led by Kathryn Young. Young is working on her doctoral degree in musical arts at LSU.

Tickets are $25-$55. For tickets, call (225) 383-0500, extension 100, or visit the website.