Václav Talich (May 28, 1883 – March 16, 1961) was a Czech conductor, violinist and pedagogue. Born in Kroměříž, Moravia, he started his musical career in a student orchestra in Klatovy. From 1897 to 1903 he studied at the conservatory in Prague with Otakar Ševčík. For a short period he was the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, and he was so fascinated by the chief conductor Arthur Nikisch, that he decided to become a conductor himself. His conducting career started in Tbilisi. From 1915 to 1918 he performed as a violist of the Czech Quartet. His career with the Czech Philharmonic started on 30 October 1918 with the poem Zrání (The Ripening) by Josef Suk. From 1919 to 1941 he became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, raising them to internationally respected levels and touring widely with them. During World War II, in a very difficult situation, he tried to support Czech culture, but after the war was accused of collaboration with the Germans. However, the accusations were refuted and he started to conduct again in 1946. In 1946, he established the Czech Chamber Orchestra, with students of the Prague Conservatory. In 1935, he was also appointed chief opera administrator at the Czech National Theatre, where he promoted works of Leoš Janáček, some of whose works he premiered. He was forced to leave when it was closed by the Germans during World War II, took up the post again after the end of the war, but was fired following disagreements with the government in 1947. He took the post up again shortly thereafter, and was then fired once again in 1948 after the Communist party took over the country. Subsequently, he became conductor of the newly formed Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava. In November 1954, he conducted his last public performance with the Czech Philharmonic. He spent the last years of his life in Beroun, Czechoslovakia. In 1957 he became a National Artist, the highest distinction in Czechoslovakia. Particularly noted for his interpretations of Czech composers such as Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and Josef Suk, Talich also did much to bring the operas of Leoš Janáček into the standard repertoire. Talich also taught a good deal, with Charles Mackerras, Karel Ančerl or Milan Munclinger among his pupils.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique"
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra