Neumann was born in Prague, where he studied at the Prague Conservatory with Josef Micka (violin), and Pavel Dědeček and Metod Doležil (conducting). He co-founded the Smetana Quartet, playing 1st violin and then viola, before conducting in Karlovy Vary and Brno. In 1956, he began to conduct at the Komische Oper in Berlin, leaving in 1964 to become conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He stayed there until 1968, when he became principal conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, a post he held until 1990.
Neumann can be seen conducting the Czech Philharmonic in a recording of the Dvořák Cello Concerto with Julian Lloyd Webber. This is featured in the 1988 film Dvorak - In Love? by director Tony Palmer.
- František Sláma (musician) Archive: More on the history of the Czech Philharmonic between the 1940s and the 1980s. Sections Conductors and The Czech Philharmonic and the people around it
- Vaclav Neumann. A necrologue in The New York Times by Allan Kozinn. Published: September 6, 1995
- Review Digest for Performances by Vaclav Neumann on ClassicsToday
- Neumann rehearing Dvořák's cello concerto with the Czech Philharmonic.