Talich, Václav, eminent Czech conductor; b. Kromërïz, May 28, 1883; d. Beroun, March 16, 1961. He received his early musical training from his father, Jan Talich (1851-1915), a choirmaster and music teacher, then studied violin with Marák and Sevcik and chamber music with Kàan at the Prague Cons. (1897-1903). He was concertmaster of the Berlin Phil. (1903-04) and of the orch. of the Odessa Opera (1904-05), and then taught violin in Tiflis (1905-06). He conducted the Slovenian Phil. in Ljubljana (1908-12); also took courses in composition with Reger and Sitt and in conducting with Nikisch at the Leipzig Cons.; also studied with Vigna in Milan. He was then opera conductor at Pilsen (1912-15). Talich held the post of 2nd conductor (1918-19) of the Czech Phil. in Prague, and subsequently served as its chief conductor from 1919 to 1931; in 1931-33 he was conductor of the Konsertforeningen in Stockholm; then in 1933 returned as chief conductor of the Czech Phil. (until 1941), which he brought to a high degree of excellence. He was director and conductor of the National Theater in Prague from 1935 to 1944, when the theater was closed by the Nazis; with the defeat of the Nazis, he resumed his activities there but was dismissed in 1945 after disagreements with the state authorities; he was recalled in 1947, but was dismissed once more in 1948 after conflicts with the new Communist regime. He then moved to Bratislava, where he conducted the Slovak Phil. (1949-52); returned as guest conductor of the Czech Phil. (1952-54); retired from concert appearances in 1954. He also taught conducting in Prague and Bratislava; among his pupils were Ancerl and Mackerras. He was renowned for his idiomatic performances of the Czech repertory. He was made a National Artist in 1957.
O. Ŝourek, ed., V. T.(Prague, 1943); V. Pospísil, V. T.: Nëkolik kapitol o due a zivotë ceského umélce (V. T.: Some Chapters on the Life and Work of a Czech Artist; Prague, 1961); H. Masaryk, ed., V. T.: Dokument zivota a dïla (V. T.: A Document of His Life and Work; Prague, 1967); M. Kuna, V. T.(Prague, 1980).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire