Born on 9 September 1956 in Busto Arsizio, Solbiati studied music at the Milan Conservatory, piano with Eli Perrota, and composition with Sandro Gorli. He finished both subjects with diplomas. He studied further, from 1977 to 1980, at the Accademia Chigiana di Siena with Franco Donatoni.
He received commissions from La Scala, the RAI, Radio France, Mozarteum, Gulbenkian Foundation and Southbank Centre, among others. His music has been performed at notable festivals, in Australia, Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and other. His music has been broadcast in Europe and America. It was published by "Edizioni Suvini Zerboni" in Milan.
He set poems by Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke and Friedrich Hölderlin to music, among others. Two operas are based on works by Russian authors, Il carro e i canti (2008) after Alexander Pushkin, and Leggenda after Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
It was commissioned by the Teatro Regio di Torino and premiered in 2011, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. His third opera, Il suono giallo, is based on Wassily Kandinsky's experimental play The Yellow Sound. It was premiered on 13 June 2015 at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
Solbiati has taught composition at the Conservatorio Giovanni Battista Martini of Bologna, the Milan Conservatory and the Centre Acanthes in Avignon. He has held master classes at the Conservatoire de Paris and the Conservatoire de Lyon. His compositions achieved awards at international competitions, such as a string quartet at the International Milan Competition in 1980, and a violin concerto, Di Luce, winning the RAI-Paganini Prize of Rome in 1982.