I (Debra) first became enchanted with crystal flutes in 1987 on a trip to Washington DC, during which my husband and I met with the curator of the Dayton C. Miller Collection at the Library of Congress. Robert Shelton graciously permitted me to handle several Claude Laurent flutes, including the one that belonged to President James Madison. My husband decided that I should own one, and secretly put the word out with several antique instrument dealers.
In 1997, flute historian David Shorey acquired this flute at an estate sale in Florida. My husband bought it from him and surprised me with it. I was completely intimidated by the idea of playing it, as I had never attempted an historical flute, much less one made of glass! The flute remained safe and sound in its case with an occasional visit from me until winter 2014, when a flutist friend convinced me that I had a moral imperative to concertize with it, as 2016 would mark its 200th year.
About The Laurent Crystal Flute
Debra Silvert offers 60 minute Lecture-Demonstrations featuring this rare flute. Please enquire here.
The flute is made of lead crystal, and is in unrestored condition. It is pitched at A=430 and is a four-keyed flute, although more keys were already in use at the time. Built by Claude Laurent in Paris and dated 1816, its crown contains a large faceted quartz crystal. The keys are sterling, the bore frosted, and the exterior decoratively cut. Only about 154 or so Laurent flutes are believed still extant, with perhaps 49 of those privately held. Debra Silvert is one of just four flutists in the world performing on a Laurent crystal flute.
Sincerest thanks to Doug Ross for making and sharing this video!
In celebration of this flute's 200th year, we commissioned composer Gary Schocker to write "Crystal Healing" which we premiered at the National Flute Association's Annual Convention in San Diego in 2016.
Please help fund our future crystal flute educational projects, new commissions, and conservation of this very special instrument by purchasing our beautiful commemorative art poster, #MusicIsLove, pictured above. Currently available in two sizes, 17 x 11 or 10 x 8, it makes any music room extra special!