Charles Dean Dixon (January 10, 1915 – November 3, 1976) was born in New York City where he later studied conducting with Albert Stoessel at the Juilliard School and Columbia University. When early pursuits of conducting engagements were stifled because of racial bias (he was African American), he formed his own orchestra and choral society in 1931. In 1941, he guest-conducted the NBC Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic during its summer season. He later guest-conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony. In 1949, he left the United States for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which he directed during its 1950 and 1951 seasons. He was principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden 1953-60, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia 1964 to 1967, and the hr-Sinfonieorchester in Frankfurt from 1961 to 1974. During his time in Europe Dixon guest-conducted with the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich.
Dixon returned to the United States for guest-conducting engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s. He also served as the conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, where he gained fame for his children's concerts. He also conducted most of the major symphony orchestras in Africa, Israel, and South America.
Dean Dixon introduced the works of many American composers, such as William Grant Still, to European audiences. Dixon was honoured by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) with the Award of Merit for encouraging the participation of American youth in music.
Dixon died in Zürich, Switzerland.