Walter Dyett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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

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.


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 School[edit]

His program at DuSable quickly acquired an excellent reputation, in particular through an annual revue called Hi Jinks, which he staged to raise money for the program, and attracted the best high school musicians in Chicago. Dyett was known for his discerning ear and strict discipline, for encouraging his students to study and play music of all types instead of concentrating on just one, for his ability to motivate his students to succeed, for being a mentor to graduated students, for insisting that all students take private instruction (which he often arranged at low cost), for the thoroughness of his program, and above all for a vast store of musical knowledge that he could draw on to provide new advice to students whenever he met them.[citation needed]


Among the musicians who studied in Dyett's program are:


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.