Sultan was born in Berlin and studied with pianist Edwin Fischer. She fled the Nazi regime for the United States in 1941, and taught in the 1940s at Vassar College and the 92nd Street Y. She later taught at the Masters' School in Dobb's Ferry, New York, for two decades.
Sultan performed a wide range of repertoire, often playing Bach's Goldberg Variations—at a time when it was rarely heard—as well as music by such 20th-century composers such as John Cage and Stefan Wolpe. Cage, a friend, wrote ê_tudes Australes, a 1975 piece based on star charts, for her.