Amongst his compositions were orchestral works, an oratorio and several operas and ballets. His best known work is the symphonic poem "Sardegna," a tribute to his native Sardinia, which premiered in Florence in 1933. In the course of his career, Porrino taught at the conservatories of Rome, Venice, and Naples, and in 1956 became the director of the Cagliari Conservatory.
That same year he married Malgari Onnis (born 1935), a painter and theatrical designer. She designed the production of Porrino's last work, the opera I Shardana, which premiered on 21 March 1959, six months before his death. The couple had one daughter, Stefania (born 1957), who became a playwright and stage director.