The Slovak Philharmonic was founded in 1949, the evebnt owing much to two conductors of international standing, Václav Talich and Ľudovít Rajter. Subsequent principal conductors who would also contribute to its development were Tibor Freššo, Ladislav Slovák, Libor Pešek, Vladimír Verbickij, Bystrík Režucha and Aldo Ceccato.
Since 1991 the post has been held by Ondrej Lenárd, who in 1995 also took on the role of programme manager. Among the many other conductors to have appeared with the orchestra are Abbado, Benzi, Celibidache, Kobayashi, Kitajenko, Menuhin and Košler, who in 1996 was awarded in memoriam the honorary title of Principal Conductor. Penderecki and Khachaturian are among composers to have conducted their own works with the orchestra.
The Slovak Philharmonic is a regular guest at European music festivals, including the Bratislava Music Festival, the Prague Spring, Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festtage, Festival de Strasbourg and the Athens Festival. Its numerous tours have taken it to almost all the countries of Eorope, and to Cyprus, Turkey, Japan and the USA, and it has made recordings for radio and television and for various labels including Opus, Sipraphon, Panton, Hungaroton, JVC Victor, RCA and Pacific Music.