pianist and composer


After her studies in the Netherlands (BA in jazz piano and MA in classical composition), she decided to stay in Amsterdam, where she is an active member of the improvisors scene, performing extensively all over the Europe.

Besides her frequent solo concerts, she has been working internationally over the past years with Feecho, Punkt.Vrt.Plastik, Hearth and Draksler – Santos Silva duo. She is one of the founding members of the interdisciplinary group I/O and part of the internationally acclaimed Doek collective. In 2016, she formed her Amsterdam-based Octet. As a composer she has been commissioned by various international groups, ranging from vocal and chamber ensembles to big bands and orchestras: Looptail Ensemble, Sturi Quartet, EMJO, Doek/Tricentric Foundation, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, EMJO, Looptail, Big Band RTV Slovenia, Italian Instabile Orchestra, and others.

Foto: Sara Anke

Kaja is interested in finding ways to merge the composition and (free) improvisation by working with different structures and musical logics. In the spirit of the Dutch jazz/improvised music legacy,she is drawn to the idea of erasing the stylistic and historical musical borders, and discovering personal expression and language through composition and improvisation.



· Feecho – Live at Vancouver International Jazz Festival (self-publishing, 2020)
· Czajka & Puchacz – Bivališča (self-publishing, 2020)
· Kaja Draksler Octet – Out for Stars (self-publishing, 2020)
· Kaja Draksler / Terrie Ex – The Swim, (Terp Records, 2020)
· Kaja Draksler / Petter Eldh / Christian Lillinger – Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Intakt, 2018)
· Fish-Scale Sunrise – No Queen Rises (Relative Pitch, 2018)
· Eve Risser / Kaja Draksler – To Pianos (Clean Feed, 2017)
· Kaja Draksler Octet – Gledalec (Clean Feed, 2017)
· Kaja Draksler / Susana Santos Silva – This Love (Clean Feed, 2015)
· Kaja Draksler / Matīss Čudars – Miniatures From Our Living Room (self-publishing, 2015)
· Feecho – Bums (El Negocito, 2015)
· BadBooshBand – The Best Of (ZKP, 2014)
· Kaja Draksler – The Lives Of Many Others (Clean Feed, 2013)
· European Movement Jazz Orchestra – Live In Coimbra (Clean Feed, 2011)
· Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quartet feat. Sanem Kalfa – Türkü (DruGod, 2009)
· Kaja Draksler – Akropola (Goga, 2008)
· Katarchestra – Katarchestra (Celinka, 2007)



Current Projects

· Solo Kaja: Draksler – piano, composition
· Kaja Draksler Octet: Laura Polence, Björk Níelsdóttir – voice; Ada Rave, Ab Baars – reeds; George Dumitriu – violin, viola; Kaja Draksler – piano, composition; Lennart Heyndels –double bass; Onno Govaert – drums
· PUNKT.VRT.PLASTIK: Kaja Draksler – piano; Petter Eldh – bass; Christian Lillinger – drums
· Hearth: Susana Santos Silva – trumpet; Ada Rave, Mette Rassmusen – saxophone; Kaja Draksler – piano
· To Pianos: Eve Risser, Kaja Draksler – piano
· Czajka & Puchacz: Kaja Draksler – piano, percussion; Szymon Gasiorek – drums, percussion and electronics
· Feecho: Kaja Draksler – piano; Onno Govaert – drums;
· Santos Silva / Draksler: Susana Santos Silva – trumpet; Kaja Draksler – piano
· Ex / Draksler: Terrie Ex – guitar; Kaja Draksler – piano



Past Projects

· I/O: Thanasis Deligiannis – voice, composition; George Dumitriu – guitar, electronics, violin; Kaja Draksler – piano, composition; Roelof Pothuis – scenography, light; Kieran Klaasen – programming music theatre (2013–2016)
· Čudars – Draksler duo: Matiss Čudars – guitar; Kaja Draksler – piano, Fender Rhodes, organ (2014-2017)
· BadBooshBand: Kaja Draksler – piano; Mattia Magatelli – bass; Luca Marini – drums (2010–2016)
· Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quintet: Sanem Kalfa – voice; Kaja Draksler – piano; George Dumitriu – guitar, electronics; Mattia Magatelli – bass; Kristijan Krajnčan – drums, (2006–2014)
· Katarchestra: Florinda Piticchio – voice; Rodica Ioan – oboe; Petra Klementova – flute; Rosolino Marinello – clarinet; Kristijan Krajnčan – violoncello; Leonardo Grimaudo – guitar; Atanas Popov – percussion; Kaja Draksler – piano/conducting (2005–2009)




·Doek Improvised Music Workshop, Amsterdam (2018)
·Creative Jazz Clinic Velenje (2016–2017)
·Boben in Lajna Summer Jazz Workshop, Ljubljana (2012)




· Suture Sovenmusic festival (co-curating)
· Doek Festival (co-curating)




· Paul Acket Award (2018)
· Young VIPs on Tour (2015)
· EPTA Frans Schreuder Prijs (2013)
· 12 Points! Plus (2011)
· Deloitte Jazz Award (2009)
· Jazzon Composition Award (2007)




Kaja Draksler Octet

The central project of the Slovenian pianist and composer Kaja Draksler brings together a colourful group of eight international musicians, all based in Amsterdam. The first set of compositions was recorded for Clean Feed and released as “Gledalec” in 2017. As in her solo performances, Draksler combines composition and improvisation, drawing from a variety of styles, places and historical periods, inspired by the large array of possibilities and talents of the ensemble. After performing the very diverse program of “Gledalec”, Draksler decidedto focus the new repertoire on the poetry of Robert Frost. The process ofcomposing was very much informed by the experiences and the knowledge shegained working with the group, while still looking for ways to raise the bar and challenge the musicians and herself. This group is Draksler’s attempt to realize some of the thoughts on musiccollected during her years of jazz and classical composition studies, as well as her experiences as an active improviser.

Foto: Francesca Patella

Laura Polence, Björk Níelsdóttir – voice
Ada Rave, Ab Baars – reeds
George Dumitriu – violin & viola
Kaja Draksler – piano
Lennart Heyndels – double bass
Onno Govaert – drums and percussion

“Simultaneously a very large-scale and solid creation /…/ one of the more fascinating and meticulous works of newmusic.” (Anže Zorman, Tolpa Bumov, Radio Študent, 2017)”

“Gledalec, an album that needs time, patience and focus to reveal its temperament. An intelligent choice – furnishing a semi-definite compositional structure for the instrumentalists to color blank spaces with their own personality – causes the atmosphereto change from a piece to another. The level of interest is kept high throughout, if onlyone’s able to seize the performance’s spirit. /…/ a neoliberal rupturing of quietness.”
(Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 2017)