John Harle, a young British musician, has found a new route to Carnegie Hall: enlist in the Coldsteam Guards. "I used to play at Buckingham Palace -- the changing of the guard, royal garden parties and all sorts of other functions," said the saxophone virtuoso, who found the life of a Beefeater classy but no classical. "Now, I'm looking forward to making my American debut. I think Americans are much more aware of the possibilities of the saxophone as a serious instrument."

Harle is very serious about the saxophone -- so serious that he was the esecond student in history to score 100 percent in his final exam at the Royal College of Music. At the British Embassy Thursday night, he will preview the program for his first American public appearance in New York: a Bach sonata, a bit of jazz and a lot of modern chamber music.

He has left the Coldstream Guards and plunged into the hectic life of a London freelance musician. He has taped commercials for McDonald's, has his own band that plays pop-oriented classical music, performs incidental music for silent films and is featured as soloist in the soundtrack of the new British film, "Betrayal."

Now he is looking for a new career as a classical saxophonist. It may be possible; he won the British division of the Young concert Artists-AMCON competition, with prizes that include a trip to New York for the finals and a debut recital in Carnegie Recital Hall. "I hope to make an impact in New York so that I can come back again," he says.