|Principal conductor||Semyon Bychkov|
The name "Czech Philharmonic Orchestra" appeared for the first time in 1894, as the title of the orchestra of the Prague National Theatre. It played its first concert under its current name on January 4, 1896 when Antonín Dvo?ák conducted his own compositions, but it did not become fully independent from the opera until 1901. The first representative concert took place on October 15, 1901 conducted by Ludvík ?elanský, the first artistic director of the orchestra. In 1908, Gustav Mahler led the orchestra in the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7. The orchestra first became internationally known during the principal conductorship of Václav Talich, who held the post from 1919 to 1931, and again from 1933 to 1941. In 1941, Talich and the orchestra made a controversial journey to Germany, where they performed Bed?ich Smetana's My Country in a concert enforced by the German offices.
Subsequent chief conductors included Rafael Kubelík (1942-1948), Karel An?erl (1950-1968), Václav Neumann (1968-1989), Ji?í B?lohlávek (1990-1992), Gerd Albrecht (1993-1996), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1996-2003), Zden?k Mácal (2003-2007), and Eliahu Inbal (2009-2012). In the wake of the Velvet Revolution, under new conditions of financial insecurity, the orchestra reorganised in 1991 and controversially voted to appoint Gerd Albrecht its new chief conductor and to dismiss B?lohlávek. Instead of remaining until Albrecht's accession, B?lohlávek resigned from the orchestra in 1992. In December 2010, the orchestra announced the reappointment of B?lohlávek as chief conductor, beginning in 2012, with an initial contract of 4 years. In January 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of B?lohlávek's contract through the 2021-2022 season. B?lohlávek continued to serve as the orchestra's chief conductor until his death on 31 May 2017.
In 2013, Semyon Bychkov first guest-conducted the orchestra, which subsequently named him director of its Tchaikovsky Project. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Bychkov as its next chief conductor and music director, effective with the 2018-2019 season.
Past principal guest conductors of the orchestra have included Sir Charles Mackerras and Manfred Honeck. Jakub Hra is the orchestra's current 'permanent guest conductor', as of the 2015-2016 season. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointments of Hra and of Tomá? Netopil as joint principal guest conductors of the orchestra, effective with the 2018-2019 season.