Commemorating the 140th anniversary of the birth of Václav Talich

Conductor Václav Talich, who lived from 1883 to 1961, represents the second milestone in the history of the Czech Philharmonic. Twenty-one years after Antonín Dvořák, who conducted its first concert, came an energetic young man with the ambition and ability to make it a first-class orchestra. This year, 28 May marks the 140th anniversary of his birth.

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Today we commemorate the 140th anniversary of the birth of extraordinary man and conductor Václav Talich. His name is associated not only with the Czech Philharmonic, but also with the National Theatre, the Czech Chamber Orchestra, the Slovak and Slovenian Philharmonics, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and other ensembles.

At the age of 14, his musical talent led him to the Prague Conservatory, where he began to study the violin. After the conservatory he joined the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur Nikisch as concertmaster. Nikisch made such an impression on the young Talich that he also decided to become a conductor.

Talich conducted the Czech Philharmonic for the first time as part of the subscription cycle on 12 December 1917. Two days after the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia, on 30 October 1918, he conducted the world premiere of a new symphonic work by Josef Suk. He had an extraordinary number of twelve rehearsals for Zrání, which was unheard of at the time. And the Czech Philharmonic apparently played as well as ever.

On the basis of this performance, Talich became the orchestra's chief in 1919. He gradually transformed the Czech Philharmonic from a provincial ensemble into a first-class orchestra, which enjoyed its first international successes with him.

No matter where he conducted, he aimed for the same thing. It was always the highest quality, despite everything. He infused this principle into the DNA of the Czech Philharmonic, and we still abide by it.