Following his initial training in piano, percussion, and composition, Márton Illés studied composition at the Basel Academy of Music (1997-2001). He completed his studies at the University of Music in Karlsruhe in composition with Wolfgang Rihm and in music theory with Michael Reudenbach from 2001 to 2005. He also received instruction from Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, György Sándor, Lazar Berman, Sándor Falvai, Ferenc Kerek, György Ligeti, György Kurtág, and Helmut Lachenmann.
Since 2005, Márton Illés has been a lecturer in music theory at the University of Music in Karlsruhe. He was also a lecturer in composition at the University of Music in Würzburg from 2011 to 2013.