Andre Previn's resignation as music director forces the Los Angeles Philharmonic to hunt for a new conductor at a time when other major orchestras are trying to fill vacancies.

His decision to leave his $500,000-plus-a-year job was announced Tuesday amid reports of artistic disagreements with Music Center executive director Ernest Fleischmann. But Previn will continue as guest conductor with the orchestra for several more years.Previn's resignation is the latest change to unsettle the symphonic world, which on Monday learned that 81-year-old Herbert von Karajan was stepping down as director of the celebrated Berlin Philharmonic after 34 years, citing medical reasons. Among the others searching is the New York Philharmonic, in the wake of Zubin Mehta's resignation. The Chicago Symphony recently appointed Daniel Barenboim to succeed Georg Solti.

"I have decided that, in the current structure of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it has become obvious to me there is no room for a music director," the 60-year-old Previn told the board, according to a statement from the orchestra Tuesday. The resignation is effective at season's end.

Previn, who became music director in 1986, clashed with Fleischmann over guest conductors on recordings, how Previn edited musical works - even cutbacks on office supplies and coffee. The Los Angeles Philharmonic said a search for a new music director would begin immediately.

It took the San Diego Symphony 14 months to find a replacement for David Atherton. On Tuesday, the orchestra announced the appointment of Israeli conductor Yoav Talmi as music director.

The Berlin orchestra is already searching for a replacement for Karajan. (Leading contenders are said to include conductors James Levine, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Mehta and - an acknowledged dark horse - Soviet emigre Semyon Bychkov.)

Previn said he planned to conduct the Los Angeles orchestra as guest conductor for seven weeks next season and six weeks each for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. He also will take up the baton for some recordings, a May 1990 U.S. tour, and for the opening concert of the Carnegie Hall centennial season in September 1990.

Previn, an Oscar-winning composer and conductor, stepped down as the Pittsburgh Symphony music director for the Los Angeles post. He left Pittsburgh because he reportedly was unhappy about a lack of support for his "artistic goals."