Raaf Hekkema is an adventurously minded who has won many prizes. He gives about a hundred concerts a year all over the world, performing his own arrangements as well as the classical and contemporary saxophone repertoire. In 2007, during a live broadcast on ZDF, he received the Echo Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year award from the German music magazine Echo for his album Paganini Caprices for Saxophone.

Since 1985, Raaf Hekkema has been a founding member of the Calefax Reed Quintet, with which he has recorded hundreds of arrangements. Calefax has played in the greatest concert halls in the world, appeared on numerous international television and radio programmes, and released several albums. It has won numerous prizes and distinctions. Raaf Hekkema has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, in the Netherlands and abroad. He also regularly gives master classes in different countries around the world. His new album project as a soloist will be dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach, to coincide with the publication of the scores of his arrangements. From 2014 on Raaf Hekkema is head of the Saxophone Department at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag.