Talich's career with the Czech Philharmonic began on 30 October 1918 when he conducted the premiere of the symphonic poem Zrání (Ripening) by Josef Suk. From 1919 to 1941 he was the orchestra's chief conductor, raising its prestige to world levels, touring widely with it, and recording Czech music for EMI. Concurrently he was chief conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra in the 1926–27 season, and of the Konsertföreningen Orchestra in Stockholm from 1926 to 1936. In 1935 he was appointed chief opera administrator at the National Theatre in Prague, where he promoted works by Leoš Janáček, some of whose works he premiered. In 1944, he was dismissed from that post and the National Theater was closed by the Nazi regime.
After the war, Talich was arrested by communists and accused of collaboration with the Germans. The accusations were refuted and he resumed his career in 1946, establishing the Czech Chamber Orchestra, with students of the Prague Conservatory. When in 1948 the orchestra was ordered by the regime to choose a different conductor or disband, it chose to disband. Talich then founded the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, conducting it until 1952. He was also allowed to resume his association with the Czech Philharmonic, giving his last public performance with it in November 1954, though he made recordings and broadcasts with it until 1956. In 1957 he became a National Artist, the highest distinction in Czechoslovakia.