More than half of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2012 Fourth Season’s programme, opening today and running until November 15, has been changed – as recently as two days ago.

Neville Pritchard, the JPO’s subcriptions and sales manager, said “the changes have come about due to monetary constraints and yet it is still a varied and acceptable programme for the musicians and audiences alike”.

The result is that the programme is far more predictable.

Audiences will also hear a mainly hackneyed repertoire performed ad nauseum by the orchestra in previous years.

Even 20th-century composers’ works that are already out of copyright were removed. Why?

As has been a tradition for years, the Joburg concerts in the Linder are presented on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 8pm, and those in Pretoria every second Sunday at 3pm in the ZK Matthews Great Hall, at Unisa’s main campus.

With conductor Martin Panteleev and pianist Boris Giltburg cancelling, this week’s opening concerts look completely different from those planned.

Cape Town conductor/composer Allan Stephenson will conduct this week’s concerts and Pretoria’s Robert Maxym next week’s. Two stalwarts will join them later in the season: Michal Dworzynski and, hopefully, Bernhard Gueller, the JPO’s principal guest conductor.

The piano soloists are American Claire Huangci, and the French-Jewish Inon Barnaton. Both of their careers are thriving.

Two foremost string players with universal appeal will set the pulse racing in virtuoso works.

SA’s own Pieter Schoeman (pictured), concert master of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform the world premiere of the Violin Concerto by the inter- nationally renowned South African composer Roelof Temmingh who died in May. He dedicated this work to Schoeman.

The Bulgarian-American violinist Svetlin Roussev will play Sibelius’s exciting Violin Concerto. The JPO’s concert master Miro Chakaryan and principal second violinist, Samson Diamond, will be the soloists in this week’s opening concert, while bassoonist Penelope Ives will be heard in Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, with Gueller on the podium, later in the season.

Here are the full details:

• October 10 and 11 (Jhb) & October 14 (Pta) – Conductor: Stephenson.

Soloist: Chakaryan & Diamond. Programme: Concerto Grosso for two violins and strings (Stephenson); Concertone in C major for two violins, K 190; Symphony No 40 in G minor (Mozart).

• October 17 and 18 (Jhb) – Conductor: Maxym. Soloist: Schoeman.

Programme: Coriolan Overture (Beethoven); Violin Concerto (Roelof Temmingh); Symphony No 1 in E minor (Sibelius).

• October 24 and 25 (Jhb) & October 28 (Pta) – Conductor: Dworzynski.

Soloist: Roussev. Programme: Holberg Suite (Grieg); Violin Concerto (Sibelius); Symphony No 4 in D minor (Schumann)

• October 31 and November 1 (Jhb) – Conductor: Dworzynski.

Soloists: Huangci. Programme: En Saga (Sibelius); Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Rachmaninov); Symphony No 6 in B minor – Pathétique (Tchaikovsky).

• November 7 and 8 (Jhb) & November 11 (Pta) – Conductor: Gueller. Soloist: Penelope Ives.

Programme: The Barber of Seville Overture (Rossini); Bassoon Concerto (Mozart); Symphony No 1 (Brahms).

• November 14 and 15 (Jhb) – Conductor: Gueller. Soloist: Inon Barnaton. Programme: Russlan & Ludmilla Overture (Glinka); Piano Concerto No 2 (Saint-Saëns); Symphony No 9 in E minor – From the New World (Dvorák).

• For subscriptions, phone Neville Pritchard at 011 789 2733. Single tickets: Computicket.