Francesco Paolo Tosti was an Italian composer who received most of his music education in his native Ortona, Italy. Tosti began his further music education at the Royal College of San Pietro a Majella at the age of eleven, where he studied violin and composition. He was appointed student teacher, but poor health forced him to leave his studies and return home. He was confined to his bed for several months. During this time he composed several songs, two of which he submitted to the Florentine Art Society, and two others he submitted for publication to Ricordi. All four were rejected.
Once recovered from his illness, Tosti moved to Ancona, where his poverty was such that for weeks at a time he subsisted on nothing but oranges and stale bread. His travels brought him to Rome, where his fortunes turned. He met a pianist and composer who became his patron. Tosti gave a concert at the Sala Dante at which the Princess Margherita of Savoy was present. She was so impressed with his performance that she appointed him her singing professor. She later appointed him curator of the Musical Archives of Italy at the Court.
1875 saw Tosti travelling to London, England where he was made singing master to the Royal Family. His fame as a composer of songs grew rapidly and one of his compositions, For Ever and For Ever was introduced at the Globe Theatre. By 1885 he was the most popular composer of songs in England.
In 1894 Tosti joined the Royal Academy of Music as a professor. In 1906, he became a British citizen and was knighted (KCVO) two years later.
In 1913 he returned to Italy to spend his last years there. He died in Rome on 2 December 1916