Sorkin was born in Chicago in 1916. He received violin training from Mischa Mischakoff. At the age of 18, he joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 1943. Sorkin served as concertmaster of the ABC Symphony from 1946 to 1954. In 1946, he helped found the Fine Arts Quartet, in which he played first violin until 1982. In 1983, Sorkin became founding director of the Institute of Chamber Music at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.