Create. Inspire. Act.

inspiring positive change for our diverse world

through arts education and music



Common Tone Arts was conceived on the premise that Seattle will continue to grow as a world center for art, culture, and education. We believe that Seattle will be a positive force in art in the coming decades and CTA is a visionary organization providing the vehicle and framework to bring it all together. The ability to find common ground is potentially the greatest challenge humanity will face in this century. We believe that creativity in the arts is a universal human need and that music is our true universal language.




Common Tone Arts

fulfills its imperatives through the following programs:


The Universal Language Project

Universal Language is an imaginative concert series rooted in the creation and performance of 21st century music and interdisciplinary collaboration. By bringing together diverse top-shelf professional musicians, genre-bending composers, and creative artists, the ULP aspires to create a body of work that can reach across generational divides, through geographic borders, and beyond cultural difference.


Common Tone Press

Common Tone Press is a non-profit publishing company and resource for composers and educators. Common Tone Press features the commissions of the Universal Language Project and serves as a cooperative publishing vehicle for composers. We move a primarily electronic product, are fully automated with low overhead, are priced to encourage musicians to take a chance on new music, and we give directly back to composers. 


The CTA Music Academy

Training Leaders for the 21st Century.  

The CTA Music Academy is an intensive institute for adult professional musicians and a camp for the young and aspiring. The Music Academy aspires to train the complete 21st century artist with skills in contemporary chamber music, improvisation, fundamentals, world music, business, and performance practice. 


The Center for Talent in the arts

Affiliated with Seattle Pacific University, the Center for Talent in the Arts is a think-tank and research hub for the development of talent.  The Center was created to encourage active student learning in people of all abilities and ages. The Center will contain a collegiate level open source music theory textbook, music fundamentals learning packages, and guest blog spaces for ideas on deliberate practice techniques.



I believe music is the true universal language. To clarify, I believe that acts of deliberate creation have the power and ability to bring people together, heal brokenness and suffering, and provide a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. I have been determined most of my life to do only two things: be a good person and become the best musician I can be. The older I get, the more it seems that these pursuits are closely intertwined. The act of creating in music (or visual art, film, dance, food, and architecture) is a socially progressive art form that by definition finds common ground among people and creates value and culture. Of course, creating (and creativity) is not limited to the arts alone and we can all contribute positively through intentional living, business, science, education, diplomacy, and commerce. Yet, history has proven that it is through witness to the artistic process that we not only find strength and solace as individuals but build entire movements defining our identity as a people. I believe music is an ideal vehicle for this vision and can be the essence of positive change.

Founder and Executive Director, Brian Chin

Founder and Executive Director, Brian Chin

My mission is to impact 21st-century music and to engage audiences with the artistic process. I am a professional trumpet player and I have dedicated my life to the study of music and the mastery of my trumpet. With roots in jazz music, I have been working professionally for the past fifteen years as a symphonic player with world-class orchestras like the Seattle Symphony. About seven years ago, I began to strive to discover a method to bring the best of these two worlds together. I believe that art music in the 21st century will be increasingly collaborative in design, performed in smaller intimate settings, and substantially less genre specific. I want to create a mash-up with the spontaneity and collaborative nature of progressive jazz and the intentionality and intellect of through-composed “classical” music. Add the energy and immediate connection of a progressive independent pop band and you have a new formula for music. 

I named this idea the Universal Language Project. Since the inception of this venture in 2006, I have been fortunate to commission and premiere over twenty new works. The first two CD recordings are solo projects on Origin Classical Records. I have worked countless hours, made strong contacts, and invested significant personal finances to build Universal Language to this point. But with me at the center, ULP was inherently narrow in scope. It is time to expand.

The Universal Language: 21st Century Music Project will represent Seattle as a major artistic force for positive change. Through multi-disciplinary collaboration, innovative programing, support for artists, and engagement with young people, Universal Language, and the non-profit Common Tone Arts, seeks to become a vehicle through which art is created in the 21st century.

As the Artistic Director of Common Tone Arts, I bring a decade of professional arts experience having worked with many of the most prominent music organizations in Seattle. I have gained perspective on how we can provide meaningful, important, and successful art-making in this city. I envision a music organization that can create equitable, affordable, accessible, intentional, artistic, and quality music.

Will you join me?

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