Cristóbal MarYán was born in Mexico City to a family of Yaqui and Spanish descent. He started playing the piano when he was eight and not long after began composing at twelve. At sixteen, he moved to Hong Kong to attend Li Po Chun United World College on a full scholarship, where he developed various media and musical projects, primarily focusing on social issues. After graduation, he was admitted to New York University Abu Dhabi, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music, graduating with Magna cum Laude. Cristóbal studied composition with Enrico Chapela, Enrique Mendoza, Carlos Guedes, Dimitris Andrikopolous, Mark Suozzo, and Michael Patterson. He also spent a year in New York City studying Composition and Film Scoring at NYU Steinhardt, where he studied orchestration with Justin Dello Joio and attended a yearlong composer’s forum mediated by Julia Wolfe. Upon his return to Mexico, MarYán joined the Núcleo Integral de Composición in Mexico City and studied symphonic orchestra composition, ensemble composition, and electroacoustic composition. In 2017, he was invited to participate in a weekend-long artist intensive with the Bang on a Can All-stars in Abu Dhabi.
His works have been premiered and played in New York (Open Source Music Festival and Americas Society), Italy, Finland (Time of Music Festival), Portugal, Canada, Mexico (Palace of Fine Arts), Abu Dhabi and Sri Lanka, performed by ensembles and artists as Yo-Yo Ma (online pandemic collaboration), Johnny Gandelsman, The Orchestra of The Americas, Carlos Miguel Prieto, The String Orchestra of New York City, Jeffrey Zeigler, Onix Ensamble, the Verona Quartet, FLUTUA flute orchestra, Alejandra Gómez Ordaz, the Ruvalcaba Quartet the Downwind Quintet, Jonathan Thompson, Cristina Ioan, Sebastián Espinosa Carrasco, Carly Gordon and Mariya Polishchuk among others. MarYán also scores films and short films. His most recent film "Son of Monarchs" won the Alfred P. Sloan feature film prize at Sundance Film Festival 2021. He has written music and designed sound for theatre plays by every major theatre company in Mexico including Mexico's National Theatre Company, Once Once productions, Mejor Teatro and Por Piedad Teatro. In 2019, he received the Metropolitano award (Mexico's equivalent of the Tony award) for best sound design in the play "10 out of 12" by Anne Washburn. He has scored a number of short films and scored T.V. advertisements for Huawei, Nissan, FOX, the NFL, Chevrolet, NatGeo, Bundesliga, The Walking Dead, and HP. In 2016 he co-founded Element Audio Group (a scoring and audio post-production company) with Samuel Nacach.
In 2022, Cristóbal was invited as Cultural Attaché and head of press and educational cooperation at the Mexican Embassy in China. Apart from using music as a diplomatic vehicle, Cristóbal's work at the Embassy involves fostering connections between Mexican and Chinese cultural institutions, promoting educational programs, and programming cultural activities for the Beijing community.