César Aguilar joins Pianist Yolanda Tapia , Flutist Alhelí Pimienta and Violinist Francisco Barradas to create KUYUM.

Ensemble Kuyum is a multifaceted group of four young Mexican musicians pursuing performing careers in Canada. The ensemble is formed with the main goal of presenting a multicultural experience through music. We aim to be an ensemble of great versatility to provide an opportunity to young composers to collaborate with us as well as to present music from around the world that may not be often performed.


The group is formed by flutist Alhelí Pimienta, pianist Yolanda Tapia, countertenor César Aguilar and violinist Francisco Barradas. The members of the ensemble have been forging outstanding individual careers performing worldwide, winning international competitions and appearing as professors and guest artists at different international music festivals in Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Mexico, U.S., and Canada.


We chose the name “Kuyum” since it comes from the Mayan language which represents a part of our cultural roots.

Yolanda Tapia,  Pianist

Yolanda Tapia is a Mexican pianist who has been honoured as a solo and collaborative pianist. She was a Fulbright scholar from 2012-2014 and won scholarship from the Veracruz State for academic excellence. She has won many competitions including second prize in the Chamber Music National Competition in Mexico City, first and second prizes in the CSU concerto competition, first place in the Concerto Competition with Xalapa Symphony Orchestra, and is a two-time finalist at the "Maria Clara Cullell" International piano competition in San Jose Costa Rica. She received the Manuel M. Ponce prize for best chamber music-group at the Chamber Music Festival in Aguas Calientes, Mexico in 2011.


Originally from Xalapa, Mexico, she earned her BM in piano performance from the University of Veracruz and MM in collaborative piano from Colorado State University. She studied for a year with Margaret McDonald, Alexandra Nguyen and Mitsumi Moteki at the University of Colorado in Boulder. During her studies at CU, she spent time researching on the music and lyrics by the indie-rock band Radiohead.


Yolanda has performed out at international chamber music festivals such as: the Académie Musicale de Morges in Switzerland, Orvieto Musica in Italy, San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival and Aguas Calientes Chamber Music Festival in Mexico. Her love for chamber music has led her to study with the Borromeo String quartet, Amernet string quartet, Latin American string quartet, Penderecki string quartet, Heaven String quartet, Erwin Schiffer and the Takács quartet.


Yolanda was a full time collaborative pianist for four years at the Institute of Music of Veracruz State. She performed concertos with Xalapa Symphony Orchestra and CSU Symphony orchestra and has participate as a collaborative pianist with the Veracruz State Youth Orchestra, CSU Symphony Orchestra and CU Symphony Orchestra. 

Currently, Yolanda is pursuing a DMA in Collaborative Piano at the Univeristy of Western Ontario studying with John Hess and Marianna Chibotar.


Alhelí Pimienta,  Flutist

“The engagement with those that listen is the purpose of music. Music is one of the most natural forms of communication, a timeless entity spanning and uniting generations of people, preserving their thoughts, hopes, dreams and emotions. My goal as an artist is to provide audiences with great musical experiences that move them and connect them with the composers and interpreters of this art.”

 -Alheli Pimienta



Mexican/Canadian flutist Alheli Pimienta has been a touring classical musician since the age of eleven. In addition to having mastered all the instruments in the flute family from the piccolo to the bass flute, she also plays a variety of folk flutes. Her vast performing experience spans from Classical Music to Brazilian Chôro, and from Argentinian Tango to Jazz. Mastering instruments and styles combined with her life-long international performing career has not only fostered a deep understanding of the discipline and dedication needed to become a classical musician, but has created a profound understanding of how live classical music affects listening audiences around the world.


This inspired Alheli to curate a number of different performances and festivals in Canada and abroad where she not only presented to the specialized music community but also to the general public. Some of these events include large conventions such as The Toronto Latin American Flute Festival and The International Flute and Piccolo Convention of Monterrey, and international chamber music tours like Trio Miramar's European Tour, and Duo Aurora Puerto Rican/Mexican tour , and world famous Flautas del Fuego tours and concert series. 


Alhelí has created the world-renown education method Flute Sprint in which she trains aspiring professional musicians in different fields through sensory stimulation. An accomplished music academic, experienced performer, organizer and curator,  Alheli intrinsically understands how to reach and impact the heart of audiences around the world. Alhelí is simply: a musician without boarders. 


Alheli is a proud Yamaha Artist.

Francisco Barradas,  Violinist

Francisco Barradas interest for classical music was first awaken at the age of six after hearing a recording of the Four Seasons by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. His decision to study violin was made two years after, afterwards assisting a concert performed by the local symphony orchestra and observing that the violin section was the one right at the front. His thought at the time was that he wanted to play an instrument that could be seen easily by the audience and therefore, he chose violin. 

In 2010, Francisco finished his Bachelor of Music in violin performance studying with Professor Agnieszka Macklakiewicz at the Universidad Veracruzana. Months after his graduation, Francisco had his first professional appointment becoming a member of the same ensemble that made him choose the violin as an instrument fourteen years earlier, the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra. Here, he was member of the first violins section for two years. In 2012, Francisco was awarded with a Fulbright scholarship, which permitted him to pursue a Master Degree in the US where he studied with Dr. Ronald Francois at Colorado State University. Currently, he is pursuing a DMA at the University of Western Ontario Don Wright Faculty of Music, where he studies with Professor Annette-Barbara Vogel. 

Francisco musical activities encompass a wide variety of collaborations. He usually performs with pianists, chamber music groups, and as a member of symphonic ensembles. Such activities have taken him to perform in several of the most recognized venues in Mexico as well as in other countries such as Canada, USA, Panama, Brazil, Italy, France, Monaco, Switzerland, and Germany. Additionally, he has been able to assist to different music summer festivals where he has been able to take master classes with some of the most recognized violin professors and performers of this generation such as Miriam Fried, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Rachel Barton Pine, Katalyn Sebestien, Kees Hülsmann, and Nicholas Kitchen among others. 

Having being born in Xalapa, Veracruz, was an important factor in the onset of Francisco’s musical studies. His native city is considered a cultural capital in Mexico and is home of one of the most renowned music school and symphonic orchestra in the country. Therefore, unlike most of the regions of Mexico, Xalapa had a vibrant musical life that allowed Francisco to successfully start his journey into classical music. This journey began when he was eight years old and started to take violin lessons with professor Carlos Marrufo Gurrutia. Professor Marrufo became Francisco’s mentor for the following ten years teaching him not just about the basics of playing the violin but also about the importance of core values such as hard work, courage, sincerity, and humility. At this day Francisco considers Prof. Marrufo one of his most important life mentors. 










© 2017 by César Aguilar.