Strings setup question with soloists

I haven’t done a ton of string writing in Dorico before so wasn’t quite sure of the best way to handle this. I did a search but didn’t see this exact situation come up.

Piece is for an expanded ballet orchestra. For at least one movement (so far) two principals (Violin & Cello) are also acting as soloists. The composer has the two soloists bracketed together separately in his manuscript and would prefer to keep this notation as he obviously is thinking of them as a separate unit in this movement. In other movements those players are regular section players. I haven’t seen the entire piece, and won’t for some time, but to due time constraints have to start work now without knowing what sort of string soloists and divisi will eventually be required. (Unlikely even the composer knows this yet as he’s still orchestrating, so not really worth even asking.)

How would y’all set this up? Obviously I could use separate soloist players, add both solo and section parts that that layout, but I can’t simply uncheck the section players from any movement (flow) that uses the soloists, can I? If the movements are short (this one is only 40 bars) I could simply use divisi and include both solo and gli altri in the layout to simplify things, but then there’s no way to bracket Violin and Cello soloists together in the score with divisi, is there? Plus, there’s no guarantee other movements will also be short, so showing solo and gli altri together might create a lot more page turns unnecessarily.

I’m operating a bit blind as I have no idea what sort of solo and divisi setups will be eventually required, nor do I know anything about the length of the movements that will require more complicated setups. This doesn’t seem like a particularly uncommon need, so has anyone done something like this before? How did you set it up?

If you give the soloists separate staves now. you have the option to use manual staff visibility and combing them with tutti parts in custom layouts while at the same time giving you the option to copy/paste the notes into divisi passages later if that turns out to be what you need.


I guess I should set up my template with a soloist in each string section then, to ensure when I combine movements down the road, then everything will be compatible. If I never end up using a particular soloist, then it’s easy to simply uncheck.