Lizzo Played a 200-Year-Old Crystal Flute Owned By a President At Her Concert

Lizzo is a Grammy-winning musician with multiple talents beyond just singing. She’s also an accomplished flute player, first picking up the instrument as a child and taking her flute-playing talents to the world stage. Her latest feat: playing a crystal flute once owned by a US president at her own concert.

Lizzo, who played James Madison's crystal flute, wearing blue with slicked back hair.
Lizzo | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Lizzo is an accomplished flute player

As a child, Lizzo was active in her school’s music program. She played the piccolo in the school marching band and eventually settled on the flute being her instrument. She remained in the marching band from eighth grade through her college years at the University of Houston.

“I was a piccolo player. I was the baddest piccolo in the land, ’cause I got big lungs. And I was really determined,” she told NPR in 2019. “I rented the flute, and I just started listening to James Galway and songs on the radio, really trying to sound good and be the best.”

She told The Gentlewoman in 2019 that she watched other band members slowly fall by the wayside. “I was always first chair. I worked so hard. A lot of the girls I played with dropped out. Only me and a few of them stayed all the way to senior year of high school,” she said.

Her flute became her best friend, and she eventually gave it the name Sasha Flute, named after the alter-ego of another famous Houston native, Beyoncé. She took it with her everywhere she went, and the flute holds a special place in her heart to this day: it was a gift from her late father when she was 10 years old.

She played James Madison’s crystal flute at her concert

In September 2022, Lizzo embarked on her Special tour in support of her smash album of the same name. During a tour stop in Washington, D.C., Lizzo paid a visit to the Library of Congress, where she was shown a special artifact: a custom-made crystal given to President James Madison over 200 years ago.

“Y’all… I played the 200-year-old crystal flute from the Library of Congress on stage in D.C.,” she said on Twitter. “Nobody has ever heard this famous crystal flute before. Now you have. I’m the first and only person to every play this presidential 200-year-old crystal flute — thank you.”

The crystal flute was made by a French craftsman and clockmaker for President James Madison in 1813. Madison was given the flute as a gift for his second inauguration.

Lizzo nervously took the flute from Library of Congress curator Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford on stage and proceeded to twerk while playing the priceless item. “It’s like playing out of a wine glass,” she quipped to the audience.

The “Special” singer took to Instagram to share her excitement. “I’m the the first and only person to play this crystal flute,” she declared. “It’s literally an heirloom — like… as a flute player this is iconic and I will never be over it.”

She uses her flute in other performances

Lizzo is no stranger to incorporating her flute-playing talents into her shows.

In the past, she’s played the flute during her performances, spicing up her hit songs like “Truth Hurts” with flute trills.

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