Kaja Draksler is the winner of the Paul Acket Award 2018. The Paul Acket Award is awarded yearly by the North Sea Jazz Festival to an artist who deserves wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship. Kaja Draksler (1987, Kranj, Slovena) studied composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, obtaining her master's degree in 2013.
According to North Sea Jazz, exciting, powerful free improvisations and modern-classic influences define the work of pianist and composer Kaja Draksler. Member of the jury en jazz critic Vera Vingerhoeds (NL) about Draksler: ‘Draksler combines free improvisations with contemporary composed music, resulting in very personal music that cannot be pigeonholed. She is a true multi-talent!’. Other members of the jury were Guy van Hulst (TivoliVredenburg, NL), Simon Rentner (NPR, VS), Hans-Olav Soli (Molde Jazz Festival, NO), and Emily Jones (Cheltenham Jazz Festival, EN). They nominated 21 musicians, after which international jazz critics and programmers cast their votes. The Paul Acket Award was named after the founder of North Sea Jazz.
Previous winners of the prize include Donny McCaslin (2017), Cécile McLorin Salvant (2016), Tigran Hamasyan (2015), and Ambrose Akinmusire (2014).
Kaja Draksler will receive the award at the North Sea Jazz Festival, where she will perform with the Kaja Draksler Octet on Friday 13 July.