Dr. Paolo Conte was born in Palermo, Italy on February 29, 1890 to Gaetano and Clorinda Conte. His musical talents were demonstrated at four years of age, when he was heard improvising on the piano. He received his musical education in Venice, where he was a student of Tagliapietra, Wolf-Ferrari, and Busoni. He earned a master's degree in psychology and his doctorate in musicology from the University of Padua. In August 1914, Dr. Conte came to UND to teach piano and composition at Wesley College. Here Paolo met his bride. Mary Esther Johnson was his first student to enroll for private instruction, and on August 10, 1915 she became his wife. They were married in Dunseith, ND. On May 26, 1921 their only child, William R. Conte, was born. In the fall of 1923 Dr. Conte became the Dean of Fine Arts at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. He remained there until 1936 when he accepted a position at the University of Wichita in Kansas. He was also the Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church in Wichita. In 1952 he moved to his summer home in Colorado Springs, CO, where he was semi-retired. He served as an organist of Audubon Heights Baptist Church in Colorado Springs and taught piano in the Pikes Peak Region.
Dr. Paolo Conte died in Colorado Springs on September 11, 1966 at age seventy-six. His compositions number in the hundreds and have been used in teaching, radio, and movies.