The Atrium string quartet is a prize-winner at prestigious international competitions. In 2003 the orchestra won 1st prize and the Audience Award at the International String Quartet Competition in London. In July 2007 the jury of the International String Quartet Competition in Bordeaux unanimously awarded Atrium its Grand Prix and the Société Générale Bank Prize.
The quartet was founded in 2000 by students of the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire who had studied under Professor Iosif Levinzon, a cellist with the renowned Taneyev Quartet. Atrium has taken part in master-classes given by the Alban Berg Quartet, the Vermeer Quartet and the Quatuor Danel; it was the principal guest ensemble of The Netherlands Academy of String Quartets, where the musicians trained under Stefan Metz. All of the quartet’s musicians completed their postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin under Professor Eberhard Feltz.
The quartet has won at international competitions in Moscow, Cremona and Weimar and appeared at the finest concert halls, among them Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and Brussels' Bozar. Atrium also regularly appears at the Beethovenfest Bonn, the Stars of the White Nights in St Petersburg, the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam and Orlando in Kerkrade (The Netherlands) as well as various music forums in Schwetzingen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Aix-en-Provence, Colmar, Bad Kissingen, Davos and Lucerne.
In 2013 for the first time in the history of chamber music, Atrium presented audiences with all fifteen of Shostakovich's quartets in one day. The project's concerts have already been heard in Russia, Iceland, France and Japan. In 2014–2015 the quartet gave a series of concerts with a programme of chamber works by Tchaikovsky, dedicating it to the one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the composer's birth. The first mini-festival of music by Tchaikovsky took place in Berlin in April 2015.
The ensemble’s discography includes recordings of quartets by Mozart, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven released on the labels EMI Classics, Zig-ZagTerritoires and RCM. These recordings were named “Discs of the Month” by leading music publications Gramophone and Luister. The musicians have also recorded four quartets by contemporary Spanish composer Jordi Cervelló (Columna Musica) which was released in February 2015. The composer dedicated his most recent work for string quartet Sant Petersbourg, the world premiere of which took place in Berlin in 2016, to the musicians of Atrium. In October 2016 the German label Profil Edition Günter Hänssler presented the ensemble's new disc, featuring string quartets by Tchaikovsky and Brahms. The disc was recorded by the musicians on venous strings in the original (lower) pitch of 430 Hz. In the 2016–2017 season the quartet will be touring and giving master-classes in Berlin, London, Hamburg and St Petersburg and appearing at festivals in Finland, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands.
Currently the quartet’s members live and work in Berlin. The musicians perform instruments produced by Italian craftsmen – violins made by Ferdinando Gagliano (1780) and Paolo Castello (1770), a viola by Lorenzo Carcassi (1775) and a cello by Giovanni Batista Cerruti (1798).