Jeffrey L. Prater teaches in the Department of Music at Iowa State University, where he is professor of music, chair of the music theory division, and past director of the ISU Chamber Singers. He holds the Ph.D. degree in music composition from The University of Iowa, Master of Music from Michigan State University, and his bachelor's degree from Iowa State University. He has written over seventy works in various genres, and has pieces published by G. Schirmer, E.C. Schirmer, Bourne, ALRY Publications, and Pro-Motion Music, and Cornucopia Press. Among his principal teachers are: William Bergsma, Richard Hervig, H. Owen Reed, and Gary C. White. In addition to his position at Iowa State University where he has served on the faculty for nearly thirty years, Prater has taught at The University of Washington, University of Northern Michigan, University of Wisconsin Center - Marinette and Michigan State University. In 2002 he was named a Master Teacher by the ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and in 2003 ISU named him a Distinguished Scholar in the Arts and Humanities.
Prater's musical compositions are performed in Iowa, throughout the U.S. and internationally. As both composer and conductor, he participated in two important international music festivals held in the Germany in 1995 and 2000. In 2003 he was nominated by the Koenigsberg Foundation in Duisberg, Germany for the Grawemeyer Prize in Music Composition (one of the most prestigious international competitions for new musical works) for his oratorio Veni Creator Spiritus. In August 2005, the Kaliningrad (Russia) Symphony Orchestra performed an entire concert of his recent orchestral compositions as a part of a summer-long festival commemorating the 750th year since the founding of the city of Koenigsberg/Kaliningrad. In support of this concert, Prater received an F.W. Miller Foundation Grant that helped defray the costs of bringing professional American soloists to Russia for the performance.
Along with his work as a composer, Prater has also taken a strong interest in the pedagogy of music theory (especially in the areas of history of music theory and analysis for performers). He regularly visits and spent one year living and working in the Federal Republic of Germany. He has translated two book-length musicological treatises by living authors from German into English: The Study of Harmony: an historical perspective by Diether de la Motte (W.C. Brown, 1991) and J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue: the work and its interpretation by renowned German musicologist, Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (Iowa State University Press, 1993). During Fall Semester 2005, Prater served as a U.S. State Department Fulbright Scholar at Emmanuel Kant Russian State University in Kaliningrad, where he lectured on topics concerning musical culture in the United States.