Kaufmann laid in 1959 from his schooling. After that, he studied German and History of Art at the University of Vienna as well as music education, cello and composition with Karl Schiske and Gottfried von Einem at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. From 1967 to 1969 he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz at the Conservatoire de Paris and electroacoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris.
From 1963 to 1967 he was a chorister ( Vienna State Opera, Volksoper Wien and the Theater an der Wien). In 1966 he was a member of the ORF Studios in Carinthia. In 1970 he worked at the theater Pupodrom in Vienna. In 1975 he founded together with his wife - the actress Gunda king - and the sound engineer Walter Stangl K & K Experimental Studio in Vienna. From 1976 to 1980 he was Vice President and 1983-1988 President of Austria section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. From 1983 to 1990 he headed the composition class at the Carinthian State Conservatory. From 1988 to 1991 he was president of the Society for Electroacoustic Music. From 1991 to 2006 he held a professorship of composition at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he was director of the Institute for electroacoustics and experimental music. There, he also served as Dean of composition, conducting and sound engineer. He was also president of the Society for the exercise of mechanical musical copyright society and from 2001 to 2004 of the Austrian Composers' Association.
Dieter Kaufmann is the grandson of Anton Keschmann and the nephew of Armin Kaufmann.