Wesleyan portrait of James John Praznik

James John Praznik

Assistant Professor of the Practice in Music and Technical Director

Music Studios, 113


James John Praznik

James Praznik is an artist and music technologist with a passionate dedication to exploring the limits of his imagination, coupled with a fervent desire to help realize the creative visions of others. James holds degrees in composition and theory from Brandeis University (Ph.D), Cleveland State University (M.M.), and The University of Akron (B.Mus), where he also studied piano under virtuoso Canadian pianist, Philip Thomson. While at Brandeis, James served as Music Technologist for the Music Department, a role he originated, designing and implementing the A/V, recording, and production capabilities of Slosberg Recital Hall. It was here, while producing thousands of events, he internalized the exquisite choreography of running live productions, and honed the intricate craftwork required to create commercial recordings.

An avid artistic collaborator and multimedia specialist, James often connects his musical background to his passion for filmmaking, interactive game design, and improvisation. Some of his notable multimedia works include the short film “Almost a New Man”, described as “chilling” (Daniel Hathaway, ClevelandClassical.com), and the mobile games “iVelocity”, “iMash”, and “Bailout Bandits”, where James served as lead game designer and sound designer. His improvisatory collaborations with saxophonist Garrett Cameron led to the creation of Duo Approximate, a group dedicated to conceiving and performing semi-improvised soundtracks for classic silent films. Most notably, Duo Approximate partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to devise and perform a live score for their film “The Ascent”, created by Matt Melis, at Cleveland IngenuityFest and on the WVIZ/PBS show Applause. As a scholar, his dissertation "Dreaming of Single Hexachords in an Infinite Expanse: An Analysis of Movement II of Donald Martino’s Notturno and an Original Composition, Wasted:Awake for String Trio, Clarinet and Electronics" was featured on an episode of the "Hearing the Pulizers" podcast as their recommended reading.

As co-artistic director of the No Exit New Music Ensemble, James has facilitated the commissioning and performance of over 300 new works - many by artists in their early career. In this role he regularly serves as a conductor, pianist and technologist for the core ensemble, as well as for No Exit’s many guest artists and collaborators. James’ dedication to exploring the possibilities surrounding virtual concert presentations has led him to single-handedly create a critically acclaimed series of video productions for No Exit employing a “film noir concept [that] seamlessly and oftentimes humorously weaves each portion of the show into 82 minutes of viewing and listening pleasure. (Mike Telin, ClevelandClassical.com).

Recently he completed a surrealist composition where Tristan Tzara’s “La Première aventure céleste de Monsieur Antipyrine” informs a blisteringly fast rendition of “Clair de lune” sung backwards.


Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

11:00AM – 12:00PM Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 3:30 PM– 4:30 PM Tuesday and Thursday

(alternative hours available by appointment)


Fall 2024
DDC 228 - 01
Game Audio History & Practice

DDC 229 - 01
Interactive Audio Creation