TORCH | CTA Resident Ensemble

TORCH is a contemporary chamber music ensemble whose original compositions are a playful juxtaposition amidst our heady intellects and our groove-craving souls. 

Torch is a reference to Tomas Mann where he proclaimed the aesthetic mantra, “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life's terrible depths”.



Brian Chin, Trumpets

Brian is the Founder and Artistic Director of Common Tone Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring positive change for our diverse world through arts education and music.  As an international trumpet soloist with the Yamaha Corporation and advocate for new music, Brian has commissioned and premiered many works for trumpet and is the creator of the Universal Language Project, a concert series creating new music and multi-arts programs. Brian is also an executive leader with the UNITY Arts Alliance, a national collective of non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice and to demonstrating an alternative model for working artists. His two solo recordings,Universal Language and Eventide are available on Origin Classical.

Eric Likkel, Clarinets

Eric Likkel is an active woodwind player in Seattle and is featured locally on the radio and on stage with Origin Records jazz recording artists, the Earshot Jazz Festival, Ballard Jazz Walk, Lynden Music Festival, Valse Café Orchestra, Smiling Scandinavians, and in chamber music concerts with the Haberton String Quartet and the Chamber Dance Company at the University of Washington. He was a feature soloist with the Federal Way Symphony, February 2011. Before relocating to Seattle in 1996, Eric worked regionally throughout the midwest, a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory, performing with Cedar Point Live Shows, the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band in Cleveland, and as a member of the American/European Rome Festival Orchestra in Italy.


Stephen is bassist with the band Torch, Assistant Principal bassist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, Principal bassist with the North Corner Chamber Orchestra and teaches at University of Puget Sound. Previously he has held positions with the Oregon Symphony and the Spokane Symphony. He is active in the recording industry, is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator, and as a chamber musician with organizations including the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, the Olympic Music Festival, Simple Measures, Second City Chamber Series, Onyx Chamber Players, Carpe Diem String Quartet, Icicle Creek, and the Jacobsen Series at University of Puget Sound. Mr. Schermer received his BA with honors from Eastern Washington University, and his MM with honors from the New England Conservatory. He also spent two summers at the Tanglewood Music Center where he was the recipient of the Koussevitsky Fellowship.

Ben Thomas, Vibes | Percussion | Bandoneón

Vibist/Percussionist/Composer Ben Thomas lives in Seattle. He has a Doctorate in Percussion Performance from the University of Washington and a Masters in Improvisation from the University of Michigan. He has four recordings available on Origin Records, including his most recent, Yet What Is Any Ocean...   

Thomas plays bandoneon and leads the Seattle-based tango quartet, Tangabrazo. He also performs regularly as a sideman as a vibist with the Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto and Chris Stover's More Zero. In addition to chairing the Music Department at Highline Community College, Thomas also teaches at Cornish College of the Arts.