Throughout much of the 20th century, the Cleveland Orchestra has enjoyed a reputation as one of the best orchestral institutions in America, and quite possibly the world. Among the so-called "Big Five" American orchestras (a fraternity that includes Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chicago), Cleveland's repertoire and impressive string sections are most stylistically akin to the great European orchestras. The reign of conductor George Szell, from 1946-1970, has much to do with their impeccable reputation, as does recordings from the acoustically immaculate Severance Hall. The notable French composer Pierre Boulez advised the orchestra for two years between the departure of Szell and the installment of Lorin Maazel, who took on the role of music director for a decade in 1972. Maazel was followed by Christoph von DohnÃ¡nyi (1984-2002) and Franz Welser-MÃ¶st (2002â).