Claudette Sorel was born in Paris of French-Hungarian parentage and was trained in the U.S. by Olga Samaroff, Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. At the age of ten, she made her Town Hall debut in New York and, the following year, performed with the New York Philharmonic. Sorel was a graduate of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute and Columbia University. Sorel made more than 2000 concert, recital and festival appearances, playing with 200 major orchestras. Her programs included premieres of music by Lukas Foss, Peter Mennin, Paul Creston and Harold Morris. She held professorships at the University of Kansas, Ohio State University and the State University of New York (Fredonia), where she was chairperson of the piano department for 13 years. Sorel died in 1999.
The Sorel collection contains a small performance file, considerable material relating to Sorel's teaching activity and some manuscripts of compositions written for her.