The much-honoured Czech conductor and composer Vilém Tauský was born at Prerov in Moravia on 20 July 1910 into a musical family. He studied with Janácek, Vilem Petrzelka and Zdenek Chalabala, and became a repetiteur at Brno Opera. He conducted Turandot there at the age of nineteen when Chalabala was ill.
The combination of the Nazis and his Jewish ancestry necessitated a move to France, and he later served in a musical capacity with the Free Czech Army, ending up in the UK when France fell to the Nazis, and was honored by the Czechs at the end of World War II.
In the UK he continued to work as a military band and choir leader, becoming musical director of the Carl Rosa Opera Company (1945-9) and Welsh National Opera (1951-6). From 1956 until 1966 he was principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, appearing with the orchestra regularly on the BBC's Friday Night is Music Night radio programme. From 1966 until 1992 he was director of opera and head of the conducting course at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Tauský died in London on 16 March 2004, aged ninety-three.
A selection of M&V articles about Vilém Tauský
CD Spotlight. Neo-classical Verve - Music by victims of the Nazi death camps, heard by Howard Smith. 'Worth its weight and then some, in Euros.'