Lizzo’s Patriotic Performance: Playing Former President James Madison’s 200 Year-Old Flute

Sofia Taddeo-Goldstein, Opinion Editor

On September 27, American music artist and three-time Grammy winner Lizzo, played former U.S. President James Madison’s 200-year-old flute, creating a new piece of American history. 

“I think it’s a very powerful demonstration of the fact that we still cherish, we still respect our history,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School Sophomore and Symphonic Band flutist Alexander Mihaylov said. 

The crystal flute was gifted to President Madison in 1813 by French flute maker Claude Laurent. According to Lizzo, she is the first and only person to play this presidential flute apart from Madison himself. The flute was loaned to her by the Library of Congress and subsequently played at her Washington D.C. concert.

“I think it’s very cool, it is something you would never see otherwise. The fact that she had it on stage in a concert makes it very, very cool for everyone to see past history and to really create new history around it,” MPSH Orchestra Director Angela Lin said. “I think, no matter what, just having someone be able to spread awareness for music and music education, and just the love and joy for music is just very interesting.”

Lizzo began playing the flute in elementary school and is an avid flutist. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, invited Lizzo through a tweet to play flutes at the Library of Congress.

“I think just having her as a pop icon or someone in pop culture makes it really visible for younger students; not even just flute students, but [all] students to pursue music,” Lin said. “She was also classically trained which makes it very inspirational for our younger instrumentalists.”

Lizzo hyped up the crowd by playing the flute while dancing and then proceeded to safely hand the flute off to staff. The flute safely arrived back to the Library of Congress, equipped with a Capitol Police escort.

“Until she played that flute, I don’t think anyone currently alive in the world had actually heard it,” Mihaylov said.