Atom String Quartet

string quartet

Atom String Quatet / photo by Ivon Wolak

Atom String Quartet is one of the most intriguing string quartets in the world, and also one of best Polish jazz bands. The group combines the capabilities of a string quartet with improvisation in its broad sense. The set of instruments of a chamber music ensemble, which is most classic and firmly established in music tradition, enables the artists to search for new sound and formal achievements. It is difficult to define, in an explicit way, the music style of the group. Its music output, besides jazz, shows sources of inspiration coming from Polish folk, music of various regions of the world, and also contemporary and classical music.

The quartet was established in Warsaw in 2010, and is created by violinists Dawid Lubowicz and Mateusz Smoczyński, violist Michał Zaborski and cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski. All of them graduated from Warsaw Frederic Chopin University of Music. Since winning the Grand Prix of the 13th Bielska Zadymka Jazz Festival in 2011, the band constantly performs at the greatest music festivals of the world, such as: Berliner Jazztage, Jazz Baltica, Leipziger Jazztage, Cairo Jazz Festival, Katara European Jazz Festival, Festival Veranos de la Villa Madrid, Gaume Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Jazzycolors Festival Paris, Salzburger Festspiele, Jazz Jamboree and Solidarity of Arts. Atom String Quartet is also the first and only Polish group that played twice at the European jazz fair jazzahead! in Bremen (2015 and 2017).

The group recorded four original records: Fade In, which received the Polish music award “Fryderyk” for Jazz Debut of the Year (2011), Places (2012), which was awarded “Fryderyk” as the Album of the Year – Jazz (2012) and AtomSPHERE, which was nominated to “Fryderyk” as the Jazz Album of the Year (2015). All records were released by Kayax. In 2017 the band released its fourth album containing compositions of the renowned Polish jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert with interpretations of the quartet’s musicians. Zbigniew Seifert Foundation is the publisher of the album. The album was nominated to “Fryderyk 2017” in the Jazz Album of the Year category.

That year also other two CDs were released, in which the quartet took part: a mutual record of Zakopower and Atom String Quartet and Made in Poland recorded with Leopoldinum Orchestra, which presents compositions of Karol Szymanowski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, as well as Krzysztof Lenczowski (Iława and Namysłowiak) and Dawid Lubowicz (Ballad on the Death of Janosik). The CD was awarded “Fryderyk 2017” (Album of the Year Symphonic and Concert Music).

The band’s discography also contains significant live concert albums with special projects, i.e.: Leszek Możdżer and Friends “Live in Berlin Philharmonic III”, Grzech Piotrowski World Orchestra “Live in Gdańsk”, String Big Band “Live in Trójka”, and Dorota Miśkiewicz “”. The musicians of Atom String Quartet are constantly invited to other artists’ recording sessions, e.g. Zakopower (Drugie pół), Kayah (Transoriental Orchestra and Gdy pada śnieg), Natalia Kukulska (Ósmy plan), Cezariusz Gadzina (The Fifth Element), Rafał Grząka (Atom Accordion Quintet), Grażyna Auguścik (Inspired by Lutosławski), Tomasz Wendt (Behind The Strings).

Atom String Quartet received many awards, i.e. : Grand Prix of Music Lovers Society in the category New Hope of Music Lovers (2010) and Band of the Year (2016), “Gold Fiddle” at the 15th Polish Radio Folk Festival New Tradition (2012) and “Mateusz Trójki” (2015) in the category Jazz Music – Event. Since the beginning of Atom String Quartet’s activity its musicians have gained high ranks in the survey “Jazz Top” of  the “Jazz Forum” magazine, including several times the first rank in the category Acoustic Band.

In 2017/2018 season Atom String Quartet was the artist-in-residence in Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin.

The quartet cooperated with such artists as: Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Gil Goldstein, Vladislav “Adzik” Sendecki, Mino Cinelu, Paolo Fresu, Leszek Możdżer, Lars Danielsson, Zohar Fresco, Jerzy Maksymiuk, André Ochodlo, Urszula Dudziak, Anna Maria Jopek, Marek Moś, Natalia Kukulska, Kayah, Aga Zaryan, Janusz Olejniczak, Krzesimir Dębski, Adam Sztaba, Grzech Piotrowski, Krzysztof Herdzin, Andrzej Smolik, and bands, i.e.: AUKSO Tychy Chamber Orchestra, Leopoldinum Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Radom Chamber Orchestra, Szczecin Chamber Orchestra, Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, Grzech Piotrowski World Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Sebastian Karpiel- Bułecka Highlanders Band.

/transl. by Anna Lubowicz/