Founded as independent body in 1901 having previously been orch. of Prague Nat. Opera. Achieved worldwide reputation through tours and recordings during conductorship of Václav Talich 1919–31, 1933–41. Among his successors have been Rafael Kubelik 1941–8, Karel Ančerl 1950–68, Václav Neumann 1968–89, Jiří Bělohlávek 1990–2, Gerd Albrecht 1992–6, Vladimir Ashkenazy 1998–2003, and Zdenĕk Macal from 2003. Salzburg Fest. début 1963, cond. Ančerl.