In October 1984 Burgess sent Yvar Mikhashoff (1941-1993), an American pianist on the music faculty of the State University of New York, a copy of his new choral work, "In Time of Plague". (Burgess had most likely met Mikhashoff during his residency at the State University of New York in Spring 1976.) Mikhashoff subsequently invited Burgess to compose a piece for the International Tango Collection, an initiative that Mikhashoff had conceived the previous year. Burgess completed his Tango for Pianoforte in November 1984.
In Time of Plague was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 'An Airful of Burgess' on 21 August 1994.