Alfred Orel was born in Vienna, earned his doctorate in law, and subsequently entered the Ministry of Finance's conceptual service. At the same time, he studied musicology at Guido Adler and became a municipal servant in 1918. He took over the Music Library of the City Library, built it into an internationally recognized collection and directed it until 1940. As a musicologist he devoted himself first to researching the Middle Ages.
From 1940 to 1945 Orel was the executive director of the Institute for Viennese Music Research, founded by him. He has published 27 books and more than 250 essays dealing, among others, with Mozart, Grillparzer, Beethoven, Schubert, Lanner, Hugo Wolf, and especially with Anton Bruckner. His book, published in 1925, "Anton Bruckner"