Updated: May 9, 2019

On the freezing Fat Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, we heard an energizing performance of ATOM String Quartet (ASQ). The group is based in Warsaw, and performed in the Target Atrium in Minnesota Orchestra Hall as a part of their first US Tour. ASQ members Dawid Lubowicz and Mateusz Smoczynski both on violin, Michal Zaborski on viola, and Krzysztof Lenczowski on cello, performed in Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Clark, New York City and Washington DC.

ASQ combines the sensitivity of a classical string quartet with a penchant for experimentation, with interpretations of classics, traditional Polish folk, jazz, and contemporary compositions. They are as comfortable playing classics as they are with the newer pieces. The crisp, witty, at times bluesy or nostalgic sound of a combination of two violins, viola and cello, not typically expected from a jazz quartet, is truly sensational.

ATOM had a very warm and joyous presence on the stage, a welcome contrast to the surrounding snow and freezing temperatures of Minnesota’s snowiest winter on record. They clearly enjoy playing together, and gave emotional depth to the music. The musicians distinct personalities shined through the performance that was very consistent.

ASQ gave a passionate and dramatic performance of music from wide range of genres. We heard music by renowned composers such as, surprising Krzysztof Penderecki the third Miniatures from the "Three miniatures for clarinet and piano", Krzysztof Komeda  "Lullaby" from the movie"Rosemary’s Baby” to "Two studies for piano" by Witold Lutosławski - all pieces arranged for the string jazz quartet by its members. ASQ members presented some of their own compositions. Dawid Lubowicz’s folk inspired “Ballad on the Death of Janosik” transported us to Tatra Mountains (Polish Alps), likely as snowy as Minneapolis this March. Michal Zaborski’s serene “Meadow”was a welcome reminder that Spring is just around the corner. Sparkly performance of Zbigniew Seifert’s“Quasimodo” that concluded the concert was very satisfying yet left us yearning for more.

We later found out that, during the tour, ASQ won the prestigious Polish music award “Fryderyk” in the category 2018 Album of the Year - contemporary music category for “SUPERNOVA” recorded together with NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra from Wrocław, Poland. ASQ is well known in Poland and Europe but not so much in the US, but that seems only temporary. Wherever they went they were received very warmly. Our sources confirmed that Atom String Quartet considers the tour a great success. The group is planning to be back in the US for the concert in January 2020. 

©copyright 2019 Katarzyna Litak


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