Paolo Fabbri graduated in Florence (1971) and achieved PhD in Bologna (1976). Since 1990 he is full professor of History of Modern Music at Ferrara University. He has been a member of the boards of «Rivista italiana di musicologia» (1977-1985) and Società Italiana di Musicologia (1988-1991), as well as of International Musicological Society (1992-2002). President of Academic Comittee for Monteverdi Celebrations in Cremona (1993-1994), he has been member of the editorial board of the Works of Gioachino Rossini (1989-1998), vice-director of Rossini Foundation in Pesaro (1994-1998) and co-director of «Bollettino del Centro rossiniano di studi» (1996-1997).
Since 1997 he is academic director of the Donizetti Foundation in Bergamo, and president of the National Edition of the Operas of Gaetano Donizetti. He is director of the series “ConNotazioni” (LIM - Libreria Musicale Italiana, Lucca). In 2003 he founded the review «Musicalia. Annuario internazionale di studi musicologici», that he still directs. He is a member of the academic boards of Istitute for Renaissance Studies in Ferrara (musical section), Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft, Works of Gioachino Rossini (Kassel, Bärenreiter) and Opera. Spektrum des europäischen Musiktheaters (Kassel, Bärenreiter), as well as of the review «Il Saggiatore musicale» and National Editions of the works of Andrea Gabrieli, Vincenzo Bellini, Giovan Battista Pergolesi.
In 1989 he awarded the Dent Medal, the prize assigned by Royal Musical Association. Visiting professor at University of Chicago (1992), in 2001 he became honorary member of American Musicological Society.