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Václav Talich

(*28. 5. 1883 Kroměříž †16. 3. 1961 Beroun)

Czech conductor and violinist

He studied violin at the Prague Conservatory, in 1903 he became a member of Berliner Philharmoniker. From 1904, he worked as a violinist, teacher and conductor in Odessa and Tbilissi, and later in 1906-7 in Prague. From 1908 to 1912, he conducted the Slovenian Philharmonic and Opera in Lublana. During this time, he completed a short residency with Max Reger, Arthur Nikisch and Artur Vigny [Arturo Vigna]. Between 1912 and 1915, he was the Head of the Opera stage in Pilsen. He conducted the first concert of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1917, between 1919 and 1941, he was the chief of this orchestra with the two-years interruption between 1931 and 1933, when he worked in Stockholm. From 1936 to 1945, he was the chief of the Czech Opera of the National Theatre in Prague. After the War, he was unjustifiably persecuted for his alleged collaboration. In 1946, he established a chamber orchestra, between 1949 and 1952, he worked in Bratislava, in 1954 he conducted for the last time in Prague. He has belonged to the famous conductors of his time with Romantic style of orchestral sound. He performed primarily Czech music (Antonín Dvořák, Vítězslav Novák, Leoš Janáček and Bedřich Smetana). He was a close friend of the composer Josef Suk and conducted many premieres of other contemporary Czech composers such as Martinů, Jeremiáš, Jirák and Bořkovec. He performed very often the works by Gustav Mahler (he also adopted revisions of Beethoven´s compositions by Mahler). He preferred specializing with perfect interpretation to a larger repertoire. He conducted the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra on several tours that contributed to the famous name of this orchestra.