Lizzo plays James Madison’s flute during D.C. concert  


Shawn Miller

Photo by Shawn Miller | Library of Congress

Nicole Bryk, News Editor

Musical artist Lizzo, known for her contributions to the R&B, hip-hop and pop genres as well as her positivity in the music industry, made history by playing former President James Madison’s 200-year-old crystal flute at her concert on Sept. 27 in D.C.

She became a mainstream artist in 2019, despite the fact that she started her career in 2013 through her debut album Lizzobangers. She is also a classically trained flutist.    This grand event was all arranged on Twitter when Carla Hayden,  who works at the Library of Congress,  invited Lizzo to receive a tour of their extensive flute collection featuring over 1,800 instruments. After her tour, she was able to play other flutes in the famous Reading Room. One flute was said to be made out of plexiglass, it was manufactured when the material was first invented.

Then the artist played Madison’s flute on Capital One’s stage sharing her excitement with the highly enthusiastic crowd. Lizzo cheered, “Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history cool. History is freaking cool, you guys!”

Playing this flute was very significant because it was the first time crystal flutes had been heard by anyone. Not to mention, this caused those at James Madison’s Montpelier estate to send her an invite, hoping she would perform there as well.

“As Lizzo continues her concert tour in the coming weeks, we’re crossing our fingers that she would consider adding a stop at James Madison’s Montpelier, once home to Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution,”a spokesperson at James Madison’s Montpelier said in a statement.

The crystal flute was made for Madison by Claude Laurent in 1813 to celebrate his second inauguration. Glass flutes were fairly popular up until the 19th century when metal flutes were invented.

The flute was saved by Dolley Madison when the British soldiers entered The White House during The War of 1812. Laurent patented the design of glass flutes, which were uncommon at the time, but were found to hold their pitch better during the humidity than wooden or ivory flutes.           . This flute was a family heirloom and became an artifact of the era.