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Walter Henri Dyett (also known as Captain Walter Henri Dyett; January 11, 1901 – November 17, 1969) was an American violinist and music educator in the Chicago Public Schools system. He served as music director and assistant music director at Chicago's predominately African-American high schools; Phillips High School and DuSable High School. Dyett served as musical director at DuSable High School from its opening in 1935 until 1962. He trained many students who became professional musicians.

Walter Dyett
Walter Dyett.jpg
Dyett (cira. 1958)
Walter Henri Dyett

January 11, 1901[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedNovember 17, 1969(1969-11-17) (aged 68)
Chicago, Illinois
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
VanderCook College of Music
OccupationViolinist, music educator
Years active1931–62
Known forMusic director at DuSable High School
Music director at Phillips High School



After studying pre-medical courses at University of California, Berkeley, Dyett moved back home to Chicago, where he worked in vaudeville orchestras and directed an Army band, after which he was known as Captain Dyett. In 1931, he became assistant musical director and later musical director at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago and, in 1935, moved to DuSable High School when it opened.[2] He received his B.M. degree at VanderCook College of Music (Chicago) in 1938, and his M.M. degree at the Chicago Musical College in 1942.

DuSable High SchoolEdit


Dyett died on November 17, 1969, aged 68.[9] He is commemorated by Dyett High School, a Chicago public high school located in the Washington Park neighborhood in Chicago.[10][11]


  • "DU SABLE HIGH MUSIC CHIEF A STAR MAKER by Roi Ottley - Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Jan 9, 1960; pg. B12" for more biographical information.
  • An Autobiobraphy of Black Jazz by Dempsey J. Travis (1983)


  1. ^ JIC:Captain Walter Henri Dyett
  2. ^ "Home". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  3. ^ Fred Below — Magic Maker, an article of September 1983 by Scott K. Fish, which includes an in-depth interview with Fred Below, published in the Modern Drummer website (retrieved August 24, 2018)
  4. ^ Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz Oxford University Press US, 2007 ISBN 9780195320008
  5. ^ a b c "The Claude McLin Discography". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  6. ^ Grossman, Ron. "How Capt. Dyett turned DuSable's young musicians into stars". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  7. ^ Campbell, Robert L. and Christopher Trent, and Robert Pruter "From Sonny Blount to Sun Ra: The Chicago Years" Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ "John Young: Biography".
  9. ^ "Saluting Capt. Walter Dyett". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  10. ^ Walter H. Dyett High School
  11. ^ Thornton, Linda (1 April 2006). "The Chicago High Schools Report Card: A Guide to Finding the Right School for Your Child (Rev and Updated Edition)". Chicago Review Press. Retrieved 19 February 2017 – via Google Books.