Márquez was born in Álamos, Sonora, in 1950 where his interest in music began. Márquez is the first born of nine children of Arturo Márquez and Aurora Márquez Navarro. Márquez was the only one of the nine siblings who became a musician. Márquez’s father was a mariachi musician in Mexico and later in Los Angeles and his paternal grandfather was a Mexican folk musician in the northern states of Sonora and Chihuahua. Because of Márquez’s father and grandfather, he was exposed to several musical styles in his childhood, particularly Mexican “salon music” which would be the impetus for his later musical repertoire.
He started composing at the age of 16 and then attended the Mexican Music Conservatory where he studied piano and music theory from 1970 to 1975. Subsequently, he studied composition from 1976 to 1979 with Federico Ibarra, Joaquín Gutiérrez Heras and Héctor Quintanar (Miranda 2001). Subsequently, in the U.S., he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and obtained a MFA in composition in 1990 from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California (Miranda 2001).
The Danzones are based on the music of and the Veracruz region of Mexico. Danzón no. 2 was included on the program of the Simon Bolívar Youth Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on their 2007 tour of Europe and the United States. It has also opened the door for the discovery of other pieces by the composer that are increasingly being performed throughout the world and extensively in Latin America. Son a Tamayo for harp, percussion and tape was featured at the 1996 World Harp Congress.
He lives with his family in Mexico City.