A city official told Yonhap that Chung, a pianist and conductor and perhaps Korea's most prominent musician, is in talks with the group.
"The city has narrowed down its list [to] six or seven internationally-recognized conductors and is now negotiating with them. Chung Myung-Whun is the most probable candidate as negotiations have moved along the furthest," the official said.
According to previous reports, officials plan to spin off the Philharmonic from its parent organization, the Sejong Cultural Center for the Performing Arts, and raise its international profile.
Chung won second place in the 1974 Tchaikovsky piano competition before studying conducting at the Juilliard School. He was an assistant to Carlo Maria Giulini at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and served as principal guest conductor of Florence's Teatro Communale from 1987 to 1992 and music director of Paris's Op_ra Bastille from 1989 to 1994 (leaving the position, like his predecessor Daniel Barenboim, after a dispute with the French government).
He has since served as music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, principal conductor of Rome's Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and music director of the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, which he founded.