I used to be a classical flutist until …

I used to be a classical flutist until …


norman lebrecht

July 23, 2019

Meet Ms Lizzo, the hottest pop star of the summer.

People are often surprised that Lizzo can actually play the flute. At 30, she’s been playing for 20 years, since she was a preteen in her Houston junior high school’s marching band and people would tell her “that shit is corny!” She went to the University of Houston on a music scholarship. She practices four hours a day when her schedule permits. The flute even has its own Instagram account, @sashabefluting (it follows no one). …

When Lizzo plays the flute, it’s a gentle “Fuck you, yes I can,” to everyone who is surprised to see her take the stage in a spandex bodysuit and play a song by an old Frenchman. She knows she’s doing something with the instrument that nobody’s ever done (please see: recent Instagram videos from her album-listening party in an L.A. strip club — a singular moment in flute-performance history). Her career has been full of those kinds of expectation-defying swerves, ones that shock, delight, and challenge preconceptions. And not just ours, but her own. “I’ve said it before, but me just existing is revolutionary,” she says again. People think they know what to expect from a pop star, but then they meet Lizzo.



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Haven’t been feelin sexy lately… it’s crazy how you can BE cute and still not FEEL cute… sheesh 🥴

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on


  • TuttiFlute says:

    The 1st video is an exact parody on the iconic Ron Burgundy jazz flute scene in Anchorman. The flaming flute image has been borrowed by flutists around the world!


  • Under 65 says:

    That’s fantastic!
    Beware the incoming wave of negative comments from all the old white guys ok this forum though….

    • Doug says:

      Yawn. Got another Marxist sheep slogan to bleat? We’re tired of the same old tired one.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Some comments are positive or negative, other are just bad comments.

    • Bone says:

      Old white guy here! Not sure what negative comment I’m supposed to make, though: pop singer plays flute doesn’t give me much to work with.
      Maybe you could help me out – what in your opinion would bring about a negative comment? It certainly appears you have some idea…are you an old white guy yourself?

    • Davyd Booth says:

      I’m an old white guy (69) and also a classical musician and I think it’s great. Anything that can bring instrumental real instrumental awareness to the public is great !!

    • Adrienne says:

      Well, this elderly black woman finds her crude and toe-curlingly embarrassing.

      Sorry if my reaction does not conform to your racial stereotyping.

  • aNOn says:

    You know, if she makes more than the principal flute of the Baltimore Symphony, who’s to say who has made the better career choice?

    Care I hear an amen?

    • John Sorel says:

      If we can rate musical performance in dollars and cents, then quite a few Hedge Fund Managers should be Section Principals of the Baltimore Symphony

      No amen from me, ‘Buddy’. None at all.

  • Caravaggio says:

    In the Instagram pic she looks like Anna Netrebko if AN had a few more pounds on her (she’s getting there) and spent a few days in a tanning booth.

  • fflambeau says:

    There’s nothing as dangerous as a flutist.


    This can be dealt with easily:

    1. She looks like, weighs approximately equal to, plays the flute about as well as, has all the style of, moves like, and is about as loud as a large dump truck.

    2. She would have no career moment if it weren’t for body positivity and wokeness movements. When those trends pass (another year maybe… if they last that long) people will ask themselves why they wanted to listen to a dump truck try to play the flute.

    3. It must be sad when everyone giving you “you go girl” and “YAAAAS!!!” pseudo praise, actually is just using you to show how open and embracing they are of “all bodies are beautiful. I think women are actually the worst about this, and to each other. Why would for instance thin and beautiful girls who go to Coachella, who work on their bodies and their diets like religion, make room for this sort of thing? They may pretend to be nice, they may pretend to like your assigned, in reality: They all know: you’re just a dump truck.

    Dump trucks exist, but no one really wants to drive one. Pretending a dump truck is a Lamborghini helps no one.

    • g says:

      How sad must someone’s life be to have time to write such a bummer of a comment?

      Shouldn’t you be practicing an instrument instead of wasting time being a troll?

    • Bone says:

      Let me guess: are you old and white?

    • Chris Isbell says:

      It takes some talent to paint a picture, but any fool can put their foot through it.

    • AnnaT says:

      Calling a woman a “dump truck”–better yet, “just a dump truck”–is actually disgusting. You sound like an incel, pathetic and enraged.

  • Ricardo says:

    Nice. Ian Anderson anyone? Different slant but similar aim.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Maybe Georg Friedrich Haas can feel inspired to compose something for her.

  • Couperin says:

    Definitely NOT the first flutist to “go there.”

  • JPAULO says:

    She can’t play for shit !!!!

  • Larry W says:

    Good looks and good taste are not always a pair.

  • Westfan says:

    I like her, I think she’s outrageous and funny. She admits knowing fairly early on that she didn’t have the talent to succeed in the classical realm, so she took another road, it’s working for her, she just did two sold out concerts in my city. I doubt she will inspire any up and coming young classical flutists but there are too many of them already. Lizzo is an original!