Questions of modernism in musical performance have of late been dominated by Richard Taruskin’s notion of the Early Music movement as a characteristic manifestation of modernism, its preference for the ‘geometrical’ (strict tempos and motor rhythms) running counter to the vitalism of mainstream classical performance. Vitalism, however, was itself an integral strand of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modernist thought and underpins many contemporaneous discourses of performance. Drawing on the work of John Butt and Laurence Dreyfus, this chapter challenges Taruskin’s assumption that pre-World War I performers enjoyed greater creative freedom than Early Music performers of subsequent decades. By examining the model of the vital interpreter promoted by such influential violinists as Andreas Moser, Leopold Auer, Carl Flesch, Bronisław Huberman and František Ondříček, this chapter shows how violinist-authors prefigured in considerable detail practice regimens and approaches to performance that were just as didactic and prescriptive as those of the Early Music movement, albeit based on an idealization of the performing subject rather than of history. Such approaches constitute an important yet often overlooked aspect of modernism’s legacy to performance practice.