Born in St Petersburg Vladimir Atapin begun his musical education with his father, a cellist, soon thereafter entering the St Petersburg Conservatory Special Music School. He continued his studies at the St Petersburg Conservatory, graduating there with the highest distinction in all musical disciplines, as a soloist, chamber music player, cello and chamber music teacher, and orchestral player and soloist, continuing postgraduate studies in the same institution.
In 1977 he became one of the youngest members of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Evgeny Mravinsky and later under Yuri Temirkanov. During these years he also taught at the St Petersburg Conservatory and the Special Music School. In 1986 he founded the St Petersburg Trio, which took part in the most important international music festivals in Russia. He appeared as a soloist with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, performing Haydn’s Concerto in D major, Schnittke’s Sonata (1978), which he transcribed for cello and orchestra with the composer’s authorisation, and Gubaydulina’s Seven Words of Christ.
Vladimir Atapin’s chamber repertoire includes the great majority of cello sonatas, from J. S. Bach to Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Britten. In 1972 he won second prize in the Prague International Competition and in 1981 second prize in the Russian National Cello Competition. In 1992 he moved to Spain to become the principal cellist of the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra. In Spain he has appeared as a soloist in concertos by Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Beethoven and Prokofiev, as well as in a wide variety of chamber music.